May 10

Teachers Who Make A Difference

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week! II wanted to talk about teachers who make a difference (made, make, same difference, because their influence still affects my life today)!

While I was back home for vacation, I managed to sneak a visit up to Davis/Sacramento again! I wanted to see if I could catch my favorite professor during office hours so I could update him on my life and thank him for being such an amazing person.

Teachers Who Make A Difference

I honestly didn’t think he’d remember me–it’s been 7 years since I last took a course with him, ~5-6 years since I last saw him, and he has several hundreds of students every year...but when he saw me pop up outside his office door, the first thing he said was, “This is such a pleasant surprise, Farrah! How have you been?”

I was so dumbfounded that for a moment, all I could say was, “You still remember me?!?” ? He even remembered that I’d done music as well! :O I’d had this whole spiel planned out in my head but it flew out immediately after hearing that.

He replied, “Of course! Paul and I still keep the gifts you made us in our offices!” (I took woodshop in junior high, so on occasion, I do pyrography and about 6 years ago, I burned two quotes into wooden plaques for them as a thank you of sorts for being awesome.)

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
A teacher ignites the fire that fuels a student’s thirst for curiosity, knowledge and wisdom.

I went to school for a total of 21 years and in that time, I’ve had the fortune of being able to learn from some truly amazing people. My kindergarten teacher and I wrote letters back and forth to each other for 8-9 years, and I had super cool U.S. history teachers in junior high and high school, and awesome English teachers in high school.

By far the ones that have made the biggest difference though were my professors in college–specifically my two Exercise Biology professors and my piano teacher. I took over 110 classes (check out the coolest classes I’ve ever taken + the classes I wish I’d had a chance to take!)

Dr. Shaffrath + Dr. Paul are still my favorite professors of all time. <3

They were the ones that truly cared that we were learning and were so passionate about what they were teaching that you couldn’t help but fall in love with the subject too (if you didn’t already)…I still maintain that if he’d taught me organic chemistry, I likely would’ve aced it and loved the subject (a tall order, seeing as how that subject made me borderline-suicidal). They’re brilliant, patient, encouraging, entertaining, engaging, and take the time out of their day to help you with yours. They have a true gift, and I still feel incredibly blessed that I was able to take courses from them. (I basically took pretty much every class they ever taught.)

With my piano teacher! <3 I miss her lots!

Whatever it is that they wrote in their recommendation letters for me, it worked for getting me into medical school. Dr. Shaffrath actually called me one morning worrying that he’d missed the deadline and screwed over my future and read a couple sentences from it to me. 😛 I’m super lucky that he decided to teach instead of doing family medicine!

(I probably look all glow-y and happy because she just gave me super-positive feedback on my recital. <3)

Being on vacation was a wonderful time, and my visit back up to Davis was a major highlight–it was awesome to get to see my professors again, and there’s just something about hearing, “I’m very proud of you,” from people you really look up to that can brighten your day/week/month/year like nothing else. :]

You can hear him talk about teaching here! :P

You can hear him giving a talk on the shortcuts to excellent teaching here! 😛

  • What qualities do you feel make the best teacher?
  • Tell me about a teacher/professor who made a huge difference in your life! :]

Permanent link to this article: http://www.fairyburger.com/teachers-make-difference/



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  1. Carla.

    As I circle back around to where I started in life – – fiction – – I thought so much about a teacher who encouraged me to write when I was in six grade. I finished my first complete manuscript thanks to him. And I’m so grateful I got the chance to thank him before he passed away.
    Carla. recently posted…5 reasons to commit to and walk a marathon.My Profile

    1. Farrah

      That’s so awesome (major congrats to you on finishing your manuscript!)! I’m really glad you got to thank him too before he passed away. <3

  2. Megan Rogers

    What a beautiful post and kind tribute to teachers! I’m a former teacher myself and I love the quote about how a teacher’s influence never stops! This is so very true.

    1. Farrah

      Thanks so much, Megan! The great ones make such a lasting impression in our lives! :]!

  3. ShootingStarsMag

    I love that he remembered you! I feel like most of my old professors would not know who I was now. haha I had some great professors in college though; one in particular was fantastic and helped me really love Shakespeare. I took his second Shakespeare class just so I could have him again – not because I needed it!
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…3 Ways to Help Direct-Sales Friends Without Buying Anything!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Me too! It made my entire day/week/month!! I’m in the same boat as you–I took every course my favorite professors taught, not because I needed the units (I had way too many, hahaha) but because I just really enjoyed learning from them. <3!

  4. Jen @ SprinklesHikes.com

    I LOVE this post! I had a teacher, Dr. Ramsey, who taught music from 5th-12th grades for me. No teacher I ever met put in so much time, energy, or dedication to his students. During my high school years he began to cut back with the younger kids as he was nearing retirement, but I never saw anyone work harder than he did. I’d love to see him and thank him.

    1. Farrah

      Thanks so much, Jen! And ah, music teachers! My piano teacher when I was growing up was definitely one of my favorite teachers! The ones who you can really tell care both about your learning and about you as a person are the ones that really leave lasting impressions throughout our lives! <3

  5. Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    What a great way to honor teachers!!! Such a great profession that never gets all the credit it deserves.
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…5 Reasons to Love the Abacos (My Bahamas Trip Recap!)My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! That’s part of why I really like letting the ones I have know how much of a difference they made and how awesome they are! :]!

  6. Mary

    It’s so cool you got to catch up with your old professor Farrah. I can’t believe he remembered you, you must have had a lasting impression on him. I love all of these pictures! I need to catch up with some of my old college professors, they made a lasting impression on me and my life.

    1. Farrah

      Forreals! I was so shocked (and ecstatic)! I was definitely super blessed to get to learn from him! :]

  7. Kristy from Southern In Law

    That is so so sweet that he remembered you – and still keeps your gifts!

    I had a similar situation with my old high school principal a few days ago. I was at the supermarket and he spotted me and remembered my name and asked me what I was doing now. I hadn’t seen him in almost 10 years but he was the most caring principal ever.

    Teachers and school staff who care really do make a world of difference! <3
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: Easy No Bake Cookie Dough Protein BitesMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Seriously! I was so shocked and happy! :D!

      That’s awesome that your principal still remembered you! It’s amazing how great their memory is! :O
      Farrah recently posted…Teachers Who Make A DifferenceMy Profile

  8. Ricardo

    The one teacher I once aspired to be: https://youtu.be/JsT_jJ_LBlA

    1. Farrah

      haha, I’ve never watched that one! :O
      Farrah recently posted…Teachers Who Make A DifferenceMy Profile

  9. Esther

    Such a cool post! I am sure your teachers loved having you as much as you enjoyed having them!
    My 4 favorite teachers were my 2nd, 4th, hs chem and college music appreciation. Oh and my grad school thesis advisor! They all impacted me in so many ways! I still am connected to a few of them via facebook which is cool!

    1. Farrah

      I hope they did! I tried hard, hahaha. :] That’s awesome that you’re still connected with some of em’ on facebook! I’d kinda like to add mine on there (if they use it…)!

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