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Who is your favorite teacher?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on August 7, 2011

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Photo of Shawnee Barron

“Marti Mihalyi. I had him in college. He taught creative writing. Advanced composition was the class.”

Photo of Paul Christensen

“Joanne Altman. She taught animal psychology.”

Photo of David Fernkopf

“George Shupe in first grade. He’s the reason I’m a teacher.”

Photo of Brooke Bell

“Ellen Ross. She was my senior English teacher.”


Kenny Nall 6 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Hoffman from Cordley took us sailing. Probably the coolest teacher ever.

Stephanie Hull 6 years, 9 months ago

Absolutely! I had him for 5th grade at Cordley in the early 1980s. I became interested in politics and history because of our class discussions. And, he taught us about climate change way back then. He was the first person who encouraged me to use critical thinking skills when reading (or listening to) the news.

Daniel Speicher 6 years, 9 months ago

I feel very blessed to have had the teachers I had throughout my public education here in Lawrence. Honestly, it could go to any one of my elementary teachers: Mrs. Quiring, Mrs. Murphy, Mrs. Becker, Mrs. Parr, Mr. Bay or Mr. Henrichs. However, it was in junior high and high school that I had the four most influential teachers I've ever had:

Dr. Boyd & Mrs. Cox - Who taught me to truly love music and performance art.

Mr. Sloan - Who taught me that class can be a combination of hard work AND humor.

and, my all time favorite...

Mrs. Souders - Who taught me that education without a personal connection with students is void of true value. She never hesitated at making me feel like I was her favorite student. Yet, when I look back, I would dare say nearly every student that had her could have said the exact same thing. It is a rare thing when a teacher can give adequate parts knowledge, love, respect and attention and still remain sane at the end of the day.

The best part about this is, out of the ten teachers listed that I had when I was in school (graduated in 2000), five still remain in the Lawrence Public School District and another remains in the area. I think it takes special teachers to pour their lives into one community or region for an extended period of their career.

We are blessed with the faculty we have in this district for sure. Glad to see they were able to get at least a bit of a raise despite the cuts. They are most deserving.

--Danny Speicher

RoeDapple 6 years, 9 months ago

Mrs Roe. For 39 years this next December.

(of course before her there was Miss Wilson, 2nd grade teacher in '55. Tall, thin, black hair and bright red lipstick. This seven year old was totally smitten. She would be about . . . 84 now. Damn.)

RoeDapple 6 years, 9 months ago

Miss Engleson taught Algebra at Central Junior High. Second floor, Southwest corner. She was teh debbil. I cringe every time I drive by there, expecting to see two glowing red eyes following me from behind the venetian blinds.

RoeDapple 6 years, 9 months ago

Miss Spotts was my third grade teacher. We were sure she arrived each morning and departed each afternoon riding a broom and wearing a pointy black hat. She looked like Margaret Hamilton with thin white hair. And screeched when she spoke.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 9 months ago

"Miss Engleson taught Algebra at Central Junior High. Second floor, Southwest corner. She was teh debbil." You have mastered the art of understatement, Roe. I'm pretty sure the teachers were scared of her, too.

Del Fambrough at LHS was an all-time favorite teech of mine. She was as classy as her husband is cool.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 9 months ago

Ted and Judy Juneau! Ted was principal at LHS and Judy was principal at the Alternative High School. Without their combined effort, my 2 youngest kids might not have graduated.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 9 months ago

For myself it would be Mrs. Miller (3rd grade) from Topeka Lutheran School. She held my hand all the way out to the bus the day JFK was assassinated and called my mother later that evening to make sure I was okay..

secrettoalonglife 6 years, 9 months ago

Maggie Carttar. Taught 6th grade at Sunset Hill Elementary, and told me I would love the movie Harold and Maude.

Bill Lee 6 years, 9 months ago

Ross Miracle at Neodesha High School. He made me appreciate the English language and the rules of grammar.

Fred Litto at KU. He opened the world of African theatre to me. I learned that there was art of many kinds beyond Europe and the USA.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 9 months ago

Studies have found as students progress through college the answer to the favorite teacher changes.

As Frosh, the majority always name a fun, off the wall, buddy type instructor. Interviewed before graduation this answer changes to more English/Math instructors who were tough, or Social Studies teachers who challenged them to explore the subject.

deec 6 years, 9 months ago

Ditto on Dick Wright. I took intro to jazz as one of those 2 week between semester classes they used to offer. I learned more about the subject in those two weeks than a whole semester in some other classes.

soitgoes1224 6 years, 9 months ago

I am Dick Wrights daughter Eileen. I just wanted to say how much it meant to my mom and my whole family to see that people still remember my dad. He LOVED his job. Loved teaching and meeting all his students.

kugrad 6 years, 9 months ago

I had Dick Wright for a great Jazz class and he was kind enough to dub off a Miles Davis documentary for me that I still watch once or twice a year to this day. He was very friendly and enthusiastic about the music he loved.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 9 months ago

Dr. Richard Greene who taught history and would tell us the funny / scandalous stories about historical figures.

Noemon 6 years, 9 months ago

Dale was a great guy. I never had the good fortune to take a class from him, but I knew him socially as the stepfather of a close friend. I have no trouble believing that he belongs on the roll of great teachers.

Deja Coffin 6 years, 9 months ago

"I want a nice tree lives right there. There it comes, yes. And he's got a little friend named Harriet. Right there. Just make up little names. I know people look at you like you're a little weird. That’s okay. Cuz as artists we can do anything. People expect us to be a little different. They expect it. Don't let them down." –Bob Ross, 1993

Pitt_Mackeson 6 years, 9 months ago

But really Dr. Clouser from my 9th grade Civics class (which really was social studies as Dr. Clouser said we did not study Civics in that class) He was very strict for the first couple classes (like Mr. Hand) but eventually we came to know him and he started to know us. That is when you get a really good education ladies and germs.

CreatureComforts 6 years, 9 months ago

Where exactly does one take a class on animal psychology?!?!

Joe Hyde 6 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Kaltenbach, then an English professor at Emporia State (then KSTC). The semester I took his class he analyzed various writing styles. It wasn't one of those "read this book and give me a book report"-type classes . No, his intent was to show us how in our own writing we have the option of approaching subject matter in non-linear ways. We can attack it straight ahead, sure. But we can also get it done by approaching from different directions, even use a mix of directions and still make it work. Years later I would put this liberating idea to use every week when writing outdoor sports stories.

Deja Coffin 6 years, 9 months ago

Although I'm not sure they would claim me after reading some of my posts on here. Particularly the ones that I post strictly out of boredom..... But I think Eudora had a lot of great teachers. My top favorite teachers would have to be: Mr, Vincent, Mr. Hinman, Mr. Kuhlman, Mr. Sailler, Mr. Deman, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Hanna, Mr. Eshbaugh, Mrs. Lowrance, and Mr. Bova. I know I'm probably forgetting a bunch of teachers that also deserve to be acknowledged as well but I'm starting to sound like a teacher's pet. Oh who am I kidding, I was a teacher's pet. Little did they know.... Although one of my favorite administrators at ole' EHS was not a teacher but the most amazing AD ever, Mr. McPherson!

kernal 6 years, 9 months ago

Mrs. Shelton: my favorite English literature teacher at Topeka High. I've never had another teacher whose face lighted up so much when discussing literature. I heard her daughter is now a teacher in Johnson County. If Sarah is half as good as her mom, those are some lucky kids!

ToteAlongShaker 6 years, 9 months ago

Alice Lieberman - she's the reason i am a social worker. love ya Al, Jack

riverdrifter 6 years, 9 months ago

Henry Kirk, professor of American history at Baker University. He was just wonderful.

bastet 6 years, 9 months ago

Uh, either Shawnee Barron wasn't paying too much attention in class or the LJW has made a rather odd error: Marti Mihalyi is a woman. (Also, quite a good teacher.)

Jaime Baggett 6 years, 9 months ago

I am a teacher and it sure has been wonderful to know what it is that makes a lasting impression on kids. It looks like one needs to be themself, make a connection with their students and have a good sense of humor and use it in the classroom. There is no replacement for authenticity. It would be my dream to have my name added here someday.

Deja Coffin 6 years, 9 months ago

I think by showing that you care to make a lasting impression on your students has already shown that you'll be known to some students as their favorite teacher. It's nice to see someone looking at their career as a teacher not just as a job but as a way to impact a person's life.

gphawk89 6 years, 9 months ago

Grade School: Carolyn Gentzler High School: Calvin Anderson College: Vic Frost

Noemon 6 years, 9 months ago

Grade School: Mrs. Wheeler--Colony 4 (aka 5th and 6th grade) at Broken Arrow. She was exactly the right combination of intelligent, kind, and perceptive. I still have the bookmark that she made me for my birthday the year she was my "home" teacher.

Junior High: Probably Mr. Clouser, who taught civics. He was smart, intimidating enough to get kids to stay quiet, and zany enough to hold everybody's interest. He was the sort of teacher who expected a lot of his students, and succeeded (in my case, anyway) in getting thm to live up to those expectations.

High School: This is a toss up between Carolyn Graham, who taught English, and Ken Highfill, who taught biology and zoology. Both of them were rigorous and insightful, and Mr. Highfill in particular did more to prepare me for college than any other teacher. Art Sloan's another that I liked a lot.

College: I was lucky, in that I had a number of really exceptional professors at KU. The best...well, probably Mike Shaw. I took his Greek Drama II, and honestly I feel like I learned more in that class than I did in the rest of my undergraduate career. He assigned a number of short--4 page, I think--essays, asking questions about the human condition that were inspired by the plays we'd read, and we were expected to really think through things on a level I'd never been forced to before. Rather than just hand the papers back with a letter grade and a few comments scribbled in the margins, he made an appointment with every student, having them come into his office and listen as he read their essay to them, line by line, dissecting the arguments, discussing their style, and so forth. My only great regret from college is that I didn't take Greek Drama 1 from him. Runners up include Pam Gordon, who made Ancient Greek an approachable subject, Betty Banks, who brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to bear in her lectures, and who instilled a great love of art in me, Dan Breslauer, who had a mind like a steel trap, Paul Mirecki, who (along with Dr. Breslauer) taught me an enormous amount about textual analysis and actually taught me how to express myself succinctly in writing, and Richard Kay, who made me love Frederick Barbarossa, and who knew how to tell history as an enthralling story.

1029 6 years, 9 months ago

My favorite was my 5th grade Art teacher because she used to invite us to her house on weekends and get us high. She also gave me my first beer.

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