How teachers affect students’ lives


Photo Illustration

American Education Week is the week before Thanksgiving where people celebrate public school communities.

Elizabeth Wood, Multimedia Reporter

Students and faculty reflected upon teachers that have made an impact in their lives in recognition of American Education Week.

According to the National Day Calendar, American Education Week was founded in 1921 and was first used to raise public awareness of education and promote literacy.

Marschelle McCoy, the office manager in the biological sciences building, said some of the teachers that had impacted her the most were here at Eastern.

Andrew Martin White was McCoy’s mathematics professor when she went to Eastern for her teaching degree. McCoy said he was their cheerleader, figuratively and literally since he was the cheerleading coach at the time and challenged the class to come up with new ways to teach students math.

“If it wasn’t for him, a lot of us would not have finished,” McCoy said. “You know, there was a lot going on in the education world at that time, but he prepared excellent teachers. A lot of us would not have finished our education degree, we probably would have switched to something else, but he encouraged us to stick with it and there were children out there who needed us.”

Rashad Oliver, a junior majoring in digital media, said his social studies teacher in his high school made her classroom a welcoming place.

“She always made my school environment more welcoming because my high school wasn’t the most welcoming place on the planet,” Oliver said. “So she made it a more hospitable, and she’s kind of like a mother figure to me when I was at school.”

He added that she was someone he knew he could go to if he had questions about anything.

Abby Moore, a junior majoring in communication disorder sciences, said AP calculus, or math in general, wasn’t her strong suit while she was in her senior year of high school, but her AP calculous teacher made sure her, and other students, were able to pass the course work.

“I was busy with extracurriculars, which was a high priority for me in high school,” Moore said. “She knew that I was busy, and she wrote me like a little card saying, like, ‘I know you’re doing a lot, just keep going. You’re doing great.’ She was just, she was so supportive. She was probably the best teacher I’ve ever had.”

Through the year Moore said she had confided in her AP calculus teacher when she had social or emotional problems.

“I think they were all very like minuscule high school problems, I don’t remember now, but I do remember an immense relief whenever I talked to her, you know,” Moore said.

While Gary Bowman, the department chair of the biology department, was in college, he said one of his favorite courses was his psychology class.

The professor hadn’t taught psychology before, Bowman said, but he came in because the original instructor wasn’t able to teach the course.

“He was learning as we were learning it, but just ahead of us. He was so enthusiastic about it, that it made it one of the best classes I’ve ever had,” Bowman said. “He loved it so much as he was learning it and he delivered that same enthusiasm to us. He had a big impact, not in my field specifically, but just in the idea of just learning new stuff. “

Bowman added tries to bring that same enthusiasm to his classes and to do his best in his career.

“Sometimes you have a professor who seems to be not that excited anymore,” Bowman said, “I don’t know if they’re older or they just lost some enthusiasm, and it kind of brings the class down a little bit. I know I never want to be that person where I’ve kind of lost that spark of enthusiasm, so when I have those teachers, it reminds me that yes, the scientific endeavor is just a great thing. It’s always, always exciting. Always new frontiers and unanswered questions are always out there that are being pursued. It’s just always an exciting time and never, it never gets mundane.”

Students and faculty across campus fondly recalled their teachers who have made sure their classrooms had a welcoming atmosphere and were genuinely excited to teach students.

Jalen Cardinal, a junior majoring in exercise science, said he has always liked learning about history, but his high school history teacher made the class fun, interactive, and enjoyable.

“He was the first class that I had every day,” Cardinal said. “It was a good way to just start off my day, just to fun environment to be in, and I’d say that was just a good way to start my day. I’d be energized and pay attention more throughout my day. It just helped me get better grades because of that.”

McCoy said White was a dynamic professor, not only in teaching his course but in preparing her and her colleagues to be teachers.

She added that he taught them to roll with the punches and to come up with innovative ways to teach students as the times changed.

Cardinal said he thinks it’s important for a teacher to be positive because it can make a student’s day.

“I just think it’s important for teachers to be positive because some people don’t have the best home lives,” Cardinal said, “so their time at school could be the best part of their day.”

Elizabeth Wood can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].