Memorable Teachers and How They Made Me a Better Educator: Part Five

I am lucky to have had five teachers who made a powerful and positive impression in my life and, looking back, I realize they greatly influenced the kind of teacher I am today. For this five part series, I will talk about why the teachers were important to me and how I use what I learned from them in my own classroom.

Part Five: The School of Life with My Brother Jeb

Hands down, the most influential person in my life was my older brother Jeb. One of my fondest memories is when he brought his yellow VW bug to school to share with my science class when I was in 8th grade. You see, he had tricked out his car so it had an impressive (and loud) car audio system and had won multiple competitions. He knew all about sound and shared some of what he knew with my classmates (while blaring Insane Clown Posse in the background).

When I was really little I used to sneak over to my brother’s room after our parents had given us lights out and we’d pretend like his bed was a tank and we were destroying bad guys.  Jeb used to take me to his friends’ houses, even though I was six years younger than him, to play Dungeons and Dragons. When I was in middle school and high school he’d bring me to his apartment to play video games, especially Halo. He made sure I knew I could talk to him about anything and he valued my opinion and thoughts. Between my sophomore and junior years of high school, he was diagnosed with cancer and nine months later he died. During his entire sickness he modeled strength and positivity.  His absence continued to shape me into who I am today.

Jeb’s life and death taught me how to be strong and how to empathize with others. As a teacher, he helped me relate to and support my most difficult students. I understand their pain and am therefore better equipped to relate to them and give them what they need. He made me want to be a role model for others, just like he was a role model to me. I want to make my students feel valued just as Jeb made me feel like I was important. And it’s pretty nice to see students’ jaws drop when I know more about Halo and ICP than they do.

Take a look at the other teachers who are a part of this series.
Part One: Elementary School
Part Two: Middle School
Part Three: High School
Part Four: Graduate School

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