I was struck by a story shared by Dean Shareski on Opening Day about The Amazing Miss A and Why We Should Care About Her. The study comes from McGill Faculty of Education, Professor Eigil Pedersen. The study initially looked at how students who had Miss A for grade 1 showed an increase in IQ scores between grades 3 and 6 while those in other classes were stable. There was nothing unique about Miss A’s class but something was going on. Students were again studied years later and given an “adult status” score including factors such as the highest grade of high school completed, the type of housing they occupied, their personal appearance and their occupational status. And again it was those in Miss A’s class that stood out.
And what else was true, every single pupil of Miss A’s could remember her as their grade 1 teacher. So what was it about the magical Miss A?
lt was reported that she never lost her temper or resorted to physical restraint, and showed obvious affection for the children. She generated many lessons on the importance of schooling and why students should stick to it. She gave extra hours to pupils who were slow learners. She believed every pupil could learn. That surely explains the one characteristic that emerged as a steady pattern, illustrated best by the comment of one respondent, “it did not matter what background or abilities the beginning pupil had there was no way that the pupil was not going to read by the end of grade one.”
The entire story is worth reading and a good reminder that we need to be careful to buy into simple explanations of socio-economic conditions as being the sole determiner of students’ success. It also is an excellent reminder of what are truly the characteristics of a great teacher.
The story got me thinking, when I look at my K-12 school years – how many of my teachers could I name? I actually did pretty well and have really nice things to say about virtually all of them. So, on this World Teachers’ Day I would like to thank those who I remember:
K – Mrs. Groening
Grade 1 – Can’t remember name and don’t have good memories
Grade 2 – Mrs. Caffrey (Read all about her)
Grade 3 – Mrs. Caffery
Grade 4 – Mrs. Caffrey
Grade 5 – Mr. Nakanishi
Grade 6 – Mr. Whitehead
Grade 7 – Mr. Taylor
Grade 8 – Mrs. MacDonalnd (Science), Ms. Bourne (English), Mrs. White (Social Studies), Mr. Inglis (Math), Mr. Paquet (PE and French), Mr. Hobson (Band), Mrs. Hicks (Food and Clothing) 8 out of 8
Grade 9 – Mr. Carroll (Science) Ms. Ball (English), Mr. Bryan (Social Studies), Mr. Loader (Math and Computer Science), Mr Milholm (PE), Mr. Hobson (Band) 7 out of 8
Grade 10 – Mr. Carroll (Science),Ms. Bourne (English), Mr. Bryan (Social Studies), Ms. Blaschuk (Math), Mr. Hirayama (PE), Mr. Hobson (Band and Consumer Ed) 7 out of 8
Grade 11 – Ms. Carey (English), Mr. Brown (Social Studies), Mr. Turnbull (Math), Mr. Gresko (Biology), Ms. Hurley (Computer Science), Mr. Spearman (Law) 6 out of 8
Grade 12 – Ms. Carey (English), Mr. Brown (Western Civ and Literature), Mr. Commons (History), Mr. Topping (Geogrpahy), Mr. McCallum (French) 6 out of 7
It is an interesting exercise. I have strong memories of almost all the teachers I remember and they are almost exclusively not about what I learned, but how their class made me feel.
To all my teachers, and those in the profession past and present – Happy World Teachers’ Day.