Remembering my favorite teachers

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I wanted to share some memories of some of my favorite teachers.

It’s been fun thinking of all the teachers who had made an impression on me. I was a good, if slightly underachieving, student. I got good grades — I was pretty much a solid A-/B+ student throughout my education. I’m pretty sure my parents heard “she could be getting straight A’s if she just put forth a little more effort” at parent-teacher conferences A LOT.

And it was the teachers that really motivated me that I remember the most. I’d like to share some quick memories of them in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.

Mrs. LoCicero was my first- and second-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Kenosha. She was very particular about the way things were done in her classroom; even the way the chalkboard was washed. She called herself a “fussbudget.” She also told us, very clearly, how we can do well in her class. I did, and did pretty well throughout my education — except for the above-mentioned slight underachieving. I excelled in reading and was “above average” in reading throughout my education. I liked the fact that she took what could have been a criticism — being very picky — and just said, “Yes, I am. Here’s how you can handle it.”

Mr. Manesis was my American History teacher at Bradford High School. He was a small man and he always wore a bow tie. Most impressive about his was his love of history. He became Teddy Roosevelt charging up San Juan Hill, standing on his desk chair. He talked extensively about Eugene V. Debs, the often-ran Socialist candidate for president in the early 1900s. He enjoyed it all. I fell in love with the gray areas of history because of his passion for the subject. Years later, I saw the show “Wicked.” In the show, the Wizard sings about history in the song “Wonderful.” When I heard the lyrics, “A man’s called a traitor. Or liberator / A rich man’s a thief or philanthropist / Is one a crusader or ruthless invader? / It’s all in which label is able to persist,” I immediately thought of Mr. Manesis and that he would probably very much appreciate those lyrics.

Dr. Perlick was one of my journalism professors at Marquette University. She was the first one I had that made the majority of her living doing what I wanted to do with my life — write. Her words of wisdom and guidance helped make me into the writer I am today. I may not be in journalism anymore, but I know a good news story when I hear it, and I often think about what questions I would ask if I were reporting a story or another. The devil is most often in the details and as a reporter; your job is to find those details. Don’t report on an opinion poll without telling the margin of error and, more importantly, who paid for it. Don’t give statistics without giving their limiting factors — that 600 people took a class could be impressive if it were over the course of three months, or it could be a signifier of the worst class ever if 600 people took a class in the last 10 years.

I’m sure everyone has a memory of a teacher who made an impression. Who was your favorite teacher?