Happy National Teacher Appreciation Day! I feel like we all have teachers--at least one--who played a part in who we are today.

I have a few I'd like to salute.

I graduated from Daviess County High School and, while I really did like most all of my teachers (leaving those in the "non-most" category to wonder, I suppose), there are a few that really stand out.

Let's start with Renae Eaden.

Ms. Eaden was my drama coach (I'll explain not using the word "teacher" in a moment). I was in a lot of plays and participated in as many speech competitions as I could. She was the one who recognized my speaking voice when I was a junior and suggested I participate in the broadcasting category at the tournaments.

I have her to thank for my career.

I also have her to thank for how I appreciate TV and movies. I haven't seen very many stage plays in my lifetime, but I've applied what I learned from Ms. Eaden to the other art forms.

Movies and TV are just a different way of presenting theater.

Also, when I talk to her today, I recognize that it's the same way as when I was a student. Ms. Eaden always talked to us as peers, not students.

She was a coach, in that sense, every step of the way.

And, MAN, her tests were hard.

 

Charlotte Postlewaite was my journalism teacher.

When we started blogging for this website in 2011, it all came back to me. And it did so because of what I learned about writing from Ms. Postlewaite.

Again, here's another teacher who talked to the students as peers. We were all working together to get a newspaper out. I guess that's why.

I also remember the fun discussions we had about Richard Nixon, and I have to explain.

My parents were big fans of Nixon, Watergate notwithstanding. I've always had a soft spot for Nixon, myself. He made an ENORMOUS mistake, yes. He was also one of the most brilliant human beings who ever lived.

Ms. Postlewaite assigned us The Camera Never Blinks by Dan Rather in 1982. I don't know how folks would react to such an assignment today, but my conservative parents didn't care.

They asked if I liked the book. I did. It's a good book.

But that's what generated those Nixon discussions. Rather was not one of Nixon's favorite people.

Ah, friendly disagreements.

In short, I'm writing, right now, because of Ms. Postlewaite.

 

And I gave myself a segue into Ms. Short. Betty Short.

She was my sophomore English teacher and I drove her crazy because of all the days I missed that year. I was having a rough time.

But she always liked me. And I always liked her. For one thing, she reminded me of my aunt.

For another, she got me interested in the macabre types of literature I enjoy to this day.

Read The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs, or Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl.

DARK! Scary! Incredible.

Two of those were required short stories in Ms. Short's class. The third, Lamb to the Slaughter, was something she recommended to me because I liked the other two. We also discussed The Shining by Stephen King, which I was reading at the time.

So, in case you were wondering about a few things, it was HER.

 

Now, what about the Four Horsemen of the History/Social Studies Wing?

Bob Graham, Jim Crisp, Floyd Hooks, and "Uncle" Buzz Norris.

Mr. Norris, my high school government teacher, is why I'm so fascinated with precedent set by court cases. Also, when I was doing my broadcast communications curriculum at  WKU, I was warned about Broadcast Law & Ethics. It was a required senior level course for my major. It was 100% court cases and their resulting precedents. And I loved it. And aced it, thanks to Mr. Norris.

He's also why I will be a fan of Law & Order until the day I die.

Mr. Graham and Mr. Crisp were my humanities teachers. Their senses of humor and philosophy of life elevated a, frankly, boring subject to something that really held my interest.

They're part of the reason why I have the sense of humor that I have today.

(I could have done without film strips about Mesopotamian pottery right after lunch--it was 5th period--but what are you gonna do?)

Mr. Hooks was my history teacher who taught us parts of American history you don't usually get in a high school history class.

Yes, he hit the high points, but Mr. Hooks covered a LOT of pop culture from the various decades of the past that we covered.

When we hit the 1920s, he had a field day.

 

These are all very important parts of who I am today, but I also want to give shout-outs to my second-, third-, and fourth-grade teachers from my time at Masonville Elementary School--Ms. Nantz, Ms. Peveler, and Ms. Davis.

They were good teachers and FUN teachers and were like family.

At Daviess County Middle School, my French teacher Ms. Kesler, my science teacher Mr. Mason, and English/block teacher Ms. Gillim were big stand-outs.

Mr. Mason's son Matt is the principal out at Daviess County, and I always like to chat about his dad when I get the opportunity.

 

I know that some of them are still living. I know that some of them have passed. Others, I'm not sure.

Wherever they are, they made a big impression on me and I've carried quite a bit of what they taught me throughout my life.

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Day!

(Boy, I hope all my punctuation and verb/subject agreement is correct.)