The Four Best Teachers I Ever Had

I got through 12 years of primary school, four years of college, and enough classrooms between both to experience a bunch of different teachers. I estimate I’ve had a hundred or two teachers, some good, some bad, most somewhere in between.

After a so many years, a handful of teachers really stick out. Here are four. Out of respect for privacy, I’ll give them pseudonyms:

1. My third grade teacher, Mr. Jenkins: What is it about third grade that’s so magical? I can’t say the number of people I’ve talked to who loved that year of school. For me, Mr. Jenkins remains the best teacher I ever had, both in-person and for any tutor online I’ve had, in part because he made things so fun. We studied dinosaurs in class, graphed out “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories on the chalkboard, built a survival hut outside. More impressively, I can’t remember ever hearing the man yell.

2. My seventh grade world history and literature teacher, Mr. Jeter: Like Jenkins, Mr. Jeter was renowned for his sense of calm. He treated my class, a bunch of 12 and 13 year old kids, as intelligent young adults, valuing our opinions, never condescending, his homework help apt. He was so good the school created a special humanities class so that we could have him again in eighth. I still keep up with him periodically.

3. My college English teacher, Mr. Hall: If he’d done nothing else besides introduce me to the work of Tobias Wolff and Dave Eggers, two of my favorite writers, Mr. Hall would be alright in my book. He also earned points for running a fun, lighthearted class and being easy to approach at office hours, like a free English tutor.

4. My second grade teacher, Ms. Huang: Never before or after did I have such misconceptions about a teacher. Coming into second grade, there were rumors that Ms. Huang threw chairs in class and was something of a terror. She turned out to be a tough, but fair lady.