Metageoloist has put out the call-for-posts-accretionary-wedge-44-most-important-teacher/ .
I've decided to go with someone that is not a geology teacher. The reason being I went to universities that had relatively small geology departments when I was there. Because you could have a teacher more than once when getting your degree and the all the field trips we went on together it made us all a tight nit group. To pick one geology teacher as more important than the others is impossible for me because they all had such a great influence on me.
I've mused about it a lot. One minute its So&So and then next it's got to be Dr X but oh no This Guy did this for me and surely that's counts for something too. . Now I'm to the point I just can't pick one of them and say this person is the most important one. Lets just say they were all the Most Important Teacher at the time I had them.
However there is one teacher that does stand out in my mind. She was my sixth grade teacher - Miss Relic (and yes her name really was relic and oh the teasing we did about her being a relic & why she was still a miss.) Despite her name she truly was a great teacher because she genuinely loved teaching and it came across to us with everything she did.
Back when I was in 6th grade I went to a catholic school. The first thing we did every morning was go to the religion class that was taught by a nun or a priest. Then after that class we would go to our regular classroom. We had the same teacher for the rest of the day. There were no rotations and the teachers were expected to teach you everything: English, Reading, Math, Science, Geography, and History. Up until the end of 6th grade all my classes had been that way. At the end of sixth grade they started to rotate us so we would be ready for seventh grade where we would have 3 different teachers. You could usually tell that there were some subjects the teacher liked better than others. But not so with Miss Relic she seemed to enjoy them all. I was impressed with the way she could teach them all so well too. She really knew her material. When the rotation came I was surprised to see she was to be the English and Reading teacher. I thought her as being more science and geography oriented.
The one thing I remembered most about Miss Relic was she was always saying 'there are no dumb questions.' and she encouraged us to question everything. If we were not asking questions then she'd be throwing questions to us. It was a lot easier to come up with our own questions than to answer hers. She taught us how to search out the answers using the resources we had available. We quickly figured out the more questions we asked the faster the day went for us. She really opened my mind to new ideas.
The other thing she did for me was she got me into my first book club. It met after school and was called ' The Great Books club'. They read the classics and discussed a book once a week for about a month. Most of the time you had to buy the book and that kept some people not wanting to be in it. Also you had to be an 'A' student to be invited into this elite group. I wasn't an 'A' student but my older brother had been and had been in the club. She knew my brother had been in the club and knew we had the books in our house thus she encouraged me to read them to improve my reading skills. Up until then I had been a poor reader & student, (and if you can't tell I always struggled with writing and spelling). But once she got me interested in the books, I became an avid reader. I discovered you don't have to be good at English to be able to read and enjoy them. Because she took such a special interest in me I didn't want to disappoint her, I did as she wanted me too and read and discussed the books with her. When she realized I was not having any problems with reading them, she broke the rules and pushed to get me into that club. That book club started my love of reading that has lasted me my whole life time. It taught me how to truly read a book and get the most out of it.
It was the first time I felt like I really belonged to a group. I made friends with all the 'smart kids'. By hanging out with the smart kids they would help me with my school work whenever I had problems with it. My grades started to improve. It was such an ego booster to be known as one of those in that group. I didn't want to disappoint them and started to learn more and more on my own. It made me realize I could do this stuff if I just set my mind to learning it. Miss Relic pushed me like no other teacher ever did until I got into college. She always had faith in me that I could do it and I always tried to give her my best.
The next year we went into rotations and I really missed her a lot. I missed the way she pushed me. The new teachers didn't and I quickly fell back into my old bad habits of just getting by. I liked the just getting by mode because now I was spending all my time with my face in a book. I loved reading so much and escaping into all those wonderful different worlds.
After that every once in a while I would have a teacher for a single subject that would motivate me but I never had one like I did in her, until I got into college and could finally pick the courses I wanted to take. Then I finally found teachers that truly motivated me to learn what they had to teach, and that is why I can't pick one geology instructor over another.