It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and we at Our Oregon wanted to take a moment to reflect on the educators in our lives who made an impact. We hope you’ll take the opportunity this week to thank a teacher, as well as show your support and take some time to learn about the realities of budget cuts and how it impacts them daily.
Have your own favorite educator story? Share it with us in the comment section — we’d love to read ’em!
Just after I started elementary school, my mom decided to go back to college to become a teacher. She was hired right out of college to teach in a tiny country school that largely served the children of migrant farm workers. The environment brings a lot of challenges, but it’s been almost three decades and she’s never left. As a teacher, she’s propelled by patience, dedication, and a commitment to helping her kids succeed. And it’s rubbed off, not just on her students, but also on my sister, who decided to follow in our mom’s footsteps. She’s now teaching 2nd grade in the same school district. I’m lucky to have two inspiring teachers in my own family, but here’s what I know: Our public schools are filled with educators just like my mom and my sister. They’re passionate, ridiculously hard-working, and dedicated to making sure that all students get the education they deserve. (Scott Moore, Communications Director)
I credit Mr. McDonald, my senior year high school AP English teacher, with a huge improvement in my writing ability. He pushed me to think critically about the structure and flow of written composition. Even more importantly, his instruction gave me the tools to continue evaluating and improving my skills on my own. It was a clear case of not just imparting knowledge of the subject, but also how to think and learn more about it: the best kind of teaching. What I learned from him allowed me to get much more from my college language arts courses, and continues to be very helpful throughout my life and professional career. (Seth Purdy, Data and Targeting Manager)
It was remarkably easy for each of us to find stories to share. Truth, it was hard to narrow down to just one or two. Because our teachers more than teaching us facts shaped who we are today.
Mr. Breyer was my high school drama and history teacher. I still appreciate how he mixed the two subjects. Several students and he were crammed in an elevator one day while he was moving all of his office belongings from one floor to another. He took that opportunity to teach us about the Boxer Rebellion. Experiencing humor, intelligence and puns from one teacher was notable and rare. I laugh when I think about him. And I can also tell you a little about Chinese history. (Christy Mason, Deputy Director)
A teacher I will always remember is Christie Holte, my fourth grade teacher. She was brilliant, young, beautiful and hilarious – she kept all of us nine-year olds in check. I liked her so much that I decided I wanted to change my name to Christie and become a fourth grade teacher. I dressed up as Matilda on random days and idolized her so much. Having such a smart, positive female role model at that time in my life (I was a little nerdy and a lot insecure. ex. I told my class my favorite band was The Police – nerd alert!) was essential in making me the person I am today. (Jenny Smith, Manager of Field Operations)
Unfortunately, today in Oregon, our students don’t have the same opportunities that we did. As we’ve explored the impact of Oregon’s overcrowded classrooms, we’re seeing over and over again how teachers and students are unable to get the one-on-one time required to build relationships, make meaningful connections, and even – at times- cover the basic classroom needs.
Many good teachers taught me plenty in class, but I often think of two who taught me outside the classroom: Ms. Brittle, who brought her own, personal copies of books, plays, magazines to school and stacked them in the middle of our class tables for anyone to borrow or thumb through. Suddenly, my homeroom downtime and bus rides home were filled with Ibsen plays, New Yorker magazines, and more. Mr. Sims, who really ought to have scolded my friend Becca and me for taping cartoon speech bubbles onto the composer portraits he hung on the music hallway walls, instead encouraged us to make more and learn more. (Alina Harway, Communications & Research Manager)
We’ve been covering the Crisis of Oregon’s Classrooms and invite you to pop over to our Vimeo Channel to learn more about it. You can hear directly from teachers, parents, and students about the reality of Oregon’s K-12 classrooms, as school budgets have been slashed over the years.