Honoring our teachers - one in particular

December 5 2010

Heads up: this will be a very personal and rambling post. You have been warned.

The past 24 hours has been an interesting emotional roller coaster. Last night, PSC had our yearly holiday party and a very major milestone in my life was recognized and honored. I don't want to share much of that yet - come back on 12/18/2010 for that story - but it has made me reflect on my career path and choices quite a bit recently. As I think back to my path that got me to where I am today, I realize that the people who really made an impact on my career have been educators. People dedicated to the profession of educating others.

In my life, I have had three great teachers. The first was my mother. While I never had her as my direct teacher in a school, she instilled a sense of wonder and excitement about science and the arts. As a kid in the suburbs of Detroit and Chicago, she took me to all sorts of classes. I fondly remember spending time at Cranbrook Institute of Science in the student classes learning about the stars and natural history long before my classes in middle and high school covered the subjects. I was getting exposure to design and architecture that helped fuel my first career dream: to become an architect. With a grandfather who made his living as a commercial artist, I got his skills at spacial appreciation and design. My mother exposed me to so much and I have always promised to do the same for my kids one day.

The second teacher that I remember fondly was a gentleman by the name of Ken Holland. Mr. Holland taught architecture and design at Wheaton Central High School. I remember meeting him before I got to high school - my mother saw my love of drafting and set up a meeting with Mr. Holland as freshmen were selecting our classes. I remember both of my parents talking with Mr Holland and him agreeing to let me accelerate into the high school's program. He always challenged me: I was doing full house floor plans as a sophomore in high school, far ahead of others in the class. He was also the one that suggested that I take a work study program my senior year of high school. He decided that I needed to see what it would be like to do the tedious day to day work. It was a rare occurrence for a college bound student to do a work study; most of the students were those who were looking to get a head start on a trade. He also placed me at a job with a friend of his. That place was Artron Products, which would become my first job and where my career in the consulting world began. Mr. Holland took a lot of his own time to give me personal attention. The impact is immeasurable.

The last teacher was my first year architecture teacher at The University of New Mexico. To be honest, I do not remember her name. Yeah, I know, kind of silly ... but she was the one who pulled me aside and had the talk about not being happy. I was very unhappy with the classes and curriculum and we had a heart to heart. It was that talk that caused me to come home from college and go back to Artron. While it might not have been the level of impact as the first two, it pushed me on the path I am on now.

Image:Honoring our teachers - one in particular

I bring all of this up because one of my good friends was highlighted for his teaching this week. Teacher lies on bed of nails for physics classes is a story about teachers using extreme examples to teach Physics in a high school in suburban Chicago. I have known the teacher swinging the sledgehammer - come on now, my friends are the smart ones :-) - since 1993. Dave has a passion for science but his passion for teaching is something I admire. I know the impact that teachers had on my life and Dave has more passion than anyone I know. The students in pictures are very lucky to have Dave as their teacher. I have no doubt that Dave will impact many students like Mr. Holland did for me. We are all super proud of you Dave!

I don't think we give enough credit or attention to the educators in our country. Hopefully articles like this will bring more attention to the great teachers out there.

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