Thanks for the memories……

O.K. I am really going to date myself here, but whenever I hear the song “Thanks for the Memories”, Bob Hope’s theme song, I feel a warm wave calmness come over me. It brings strong memories of a childhood being brought up in a home where no Bob Hope special went unwatched. Those memories are blended with emotions of happy times spent with parents and grandparents. Even though those days are long gone, the memories and visceral feelings are as strong as ever.
Ask yourself what are the aspects of your day that are really memorable? When you reflect about the past year on a personal level, what are the things that stand out? Take few moments right now and think about the things that really stand out, the great memories you have in your lifetime. What do they have in common? Emotions! Winning a championship, participating in a play, getting married, witnessing the birth of a child, spending time with loved ones, these are the events bring back memories charged with emotion. Memories of the people and the relationships we had with those people are what truly make an event meaningful. Do you remember the first great grade you earned on a test or do you remember how people reacted to it? You especially remember the reactions of those people about which you cared about and wanted them to think positively about you. Bad memories are made of emotions too. Being left out, feeling unwanted, not being noticed, having your flaws endlessly put on display. Emotions have a way of etching events into our memories so strongly that we cannot forget them even if we try…(and in the case of severe trauma, the opposite, we can’t remember even if we try).
You may now ask yourself where I am going with this….my point is that a truly effective classroom builds strong, positive, professional relationships between students and their teacher. An environment of shared respect and genuine caring will help foster a strong learning experience. As I think back on my education certain memories remain strong and most of them involve mainly how the teachers helped me feel worthy of their time. The most effective teachers I can remember combined high expectations, a “we can do it” attitude and a real rapport with their class. Teachers like Mrs. Eicher and her game of scrabble, Mrs. Gardner and a great Spanish class, Mr. Pigg and his cousins in a blanket, Mr. Tyndle and his undying love of science, and Dr. Bev Findley and her unequalled enthusiasm are the teachers that made great learning experiences and memories for me. What kind of memories are you creating for your students?

One thought on “Thanks for the memories……

  1. I hope that my students remember what they learned from my class, but I also hope they remember me as a teacher who cared about them first and English second. I know my classes are hard, and I know that my students work hard to earn an A, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Teenagers need to learn responsibility and how to meet deadlines. The “real world” will not listen to their complaints or accept their excuses, so why should teachers?

    I hope I am remembered as a fair teacher who treated his students fairly, and I hope that my laid back classroom reminds my students that work does not have to be miserable.

    As for my own memories from high school and college, I have several too! I remember Mrs. Lower, my English teacher in high school. She was a little lady with white hair, and she was TOUGH!! However, I will never forget her or her classes, as she is one I try to model myself after. She demanded respect and hard work, and she usually had both from her students. I remember Mrs. Jones, another high school English teacher, who would not take homework from students who were working on it before the bell. I also remember that she cared about her students and constantly worked for us. I remember Ms. Michel and her videos about the Civil War, and I remember Mrs. Mulkins who chaperoned a trip to Washington D.C. with a group of high school juniors and seniors so that we could see Bill Clinton inaugurated in 1992.

    These teachers went the extra mile for students, but they challenged us to work hard in the process. I, too, remember Bev Findley who loved her job and sparked a small interest in me to one day become an administrator. Dr. Rod Marshall is the most current professor I have had. He was a stickler on APA style, but he cared about his students, which was never more evident than during my appendectomy and recovery. Not only did he allow a paper two weeks late, but he gave me an incomplete for the class and came to Paris to listen to my final research presentation that I missed because I could not travel to EIU. These teachers had a valuable impact on my life, and I hope that I, too, am impacting my students’ lives in a positive way.

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