Who are my teaching idols? One of them is my Reading and Language Arts professor. She taught us with passion and I wish I had been in her first grade class! She summed up everything a teacher should be. She was prompt with returning assignments, gave clear expectations and good feedback and showed us how to love our students and to encourage them with passion. She showed us how to be that crazy teacher that the students would do anything for! She taught us how to do a "Yippee-skippy!" How? By climbing up on a chair and shouting "Yippee Skippy!!!" It works! She was a perfect model of modeling and I will always aspire to be more like her.
Another idol is/was my cooperating teacher from student teaching. She had this magic inside of her that found the good inside of everyone and encouraged them. She gave me wings and set me free and in doing so, she taught me SO MUCH about teaching. She was a student-whisperer. When Mrs. Hamilton walked in, students just did what they were supposed to. She was also able to build relationships and reach the really difficult students.
My personal teaching idol, the one that reached me, was Mrs. Penner. I was a mess in her class, but it went downhill from there. She never judged me or treated me that way the other teachers did even at my worst. I went back for years and showed her the poetry that she inspired me to write. Some of it was good. Most of it was very dark. Some of it was just spitting rage and hate. She never criticized. She just said, "keep writing!" I ran into her a few years ago, shortly after I went back to college. She said, "keep writing!" She was an encourager and a lover of learners and she never put me in box or gave me the famous "your-not-good-enough" look, vibe or speech that so many other teachers gave me.
If I teach like these people, I will reach students and change lives. That is my passion.
Hop over to Big Time Literacy and read about everyone else's teaching idols. Who were yours? Who are yours today?