What comes to mind when you think about the impact of your favorite teacher? Mr. H, my eighth grade math teacher, was not only attentive to my academic goals but also to my well-being while I navigated racial dynamics as one of the few Black students at my school. This week, we’re showing appreciation for teachers who dedicate their time, talent and effort to uplifting and supporting learners. At Digital Promise, educators inspire us to take on big challenges in education.
In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week and our gratitude for teachers, Digital Promise staff shared personal stories of impactful educators.
“Selby Doughty taught me the importance of context—that every work of art, invention, and movement, is informed by circumstances. Consider the context.”
“Mrs. Boerlin (eighth grade, English) was amazing. She connected with us personally and with our interests. That changed how I engaged with texts and our writing. She valued me as a whole person, and it totally changed my learning experience.”
“My English teacher during my senior year of high school, Mr. Emigh, is the kindest and most generous teacher I’ve ever had. He was always so willing to help everyone, while showcasing his deep passion for English literature. I will forever be thankful to him, not only for fostering my love for poetry and books, but also for spending his lunch breaks on Fridays teaching me how to read music and play the guitar. I even went on to play in a talent show, all with his support. Mr. Emigh is the best!”
“Shantel Tharps, a 20+ year veteran science teacher, by far, had the greatest impact on my life. She truly made sure to care about students as human beings and treated each and every one like family. You grew to love her and science—I think about her often.”
“If it were not for my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Pamela R. Smith, being one of my support pillars, I don’t know what I would have become. At a very young age she taught me the importance of taking up space and utilizing my God-given gifts to support others.”
“Elizabeth Grove, from Northwest Classen High School was my AP English teacher and so much more. Her room was a safe space to land, a place of free thinking and kindness. She continues to be a light in my life!”
“Brad helped me embrace and discover the joys of lifelong learning and curiosity. He taught me there is so much joy in investigating your own questions and that exploration can lead us to unexpected opportunities for growth. Thanks, Brad!”
“My sixth grade teacher Mr. Hanks had a positive lifelong impact in my life. He believed in my abilities, saw my potential, and reinforced my self-esteem in the classroom when I was beginning to fall through the cracks of a broken school system in the city of Los Angeles during the early 90’s. Being a first-generation daughter of immigrants, I had no idea that scholarships and grants existed for students like me. Mr. Hanks made it possible for me to join an academic enrichment program at USC which helped me excel in the most challenging courses that best prepared me for college. Thanks to Mr. Hanks, I pursued a career in education.”
“My high school algebra teacher Mr. Olmstead had a positive impact on my life. I was not great at math, but he stayed after school and tutored me whenever I asked. He taught me a lot about perseverance, drive, and determination. He also taught me that I had value beyond my grade point average.”
“I attribute my success to Mr. Patrick Cummings, my second grade teacher. His dedication allowed him to realize I was gifted. This opened doors for me, from graduating from the IB Magnet Program in high school to obtaining a doctoral degree. Thanks!”