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Thanking the Teachers of Our Past

Mrs. Lassen teaches art students

If there’s one thing a lot of people have in common, it’s that teachers have had a significant impact on our lives in some way. In honor of National Teacher Day (May 5, 2020), some of the Educators Credit Union team is looking back at the teachers who’ve made a difference in our lives.

Brad – A lot of teachers have gone out of their way to help change my life for the better. Honestly, I’d list them, but there were so many that a few would get left off. For this article, I’m narrowing it down to one way a specific teacher changed my life – her name is Kate Potter-Barrow.

The one thing that Kate taught me that changed my life was to always dig for the truth. She taught me to be tenacious and thirsty for knowledge. While I didn’t appreciate those lessons then, those are lessons that continue to help make me the person I am today.

But truly, I was lucky to have a wealth of great teachers that challenged me to be better. I’m grateful for all of them each and every day. Sorry for the grief I gave most of you as a teenager.


Michael – The year was 1998, the room was 201, and the teacher was Mr. Hancock.

He is one of many teachers that comes to mind when I think about those who left a lasting impression and made learning enjoyable for me.

Why? He made it fun and exciting. In his math class, we were learning about the basics of geometry, and we crafted something called a hexaflexagon – part origami, part magic, and part geometry! This thing could be folded up in a million different ways to create different shapes. Instead of looking at a textbook or overhead projector for an hour, we played with our hexaflexagon. Through that, the class was able to develop a great understanding of the topic. It was a lot of fun.

It is teachers like Mr. Hancock who help kids, me included, understand that learning can be enjoyable.


Dena – I attended a small parochial school with mostly the same group of students from first through eighth grade. The other thing that was exactly the same during my grade school years was my art teacher, Mrs. Lassen. From grade school until I entered high school, she was a consistent part of my life. Grade school and middle school, of course, are the years when everyone is wondering “What will I become?”, “Who will I fit in with?” and “Will I be accepted as an individual?”, which brings on a lot of pressure. She had a way of making all students feel comfortable in her class. Art is a form of expression, which she encouraged, and anyone could throw out a few shapes and colors on a piece of paper, no matter what your skill level.

She discovered right away that I had a passion for drawing, painting and working with crafts. If time allowed, she would encourage me to do more projects or try something different. As our class progressed and became comfortable with drawing or painting, she would add things like pottery, stained glass or macramé. What I know now about teachers and what they have to pay out of their own pockets for supplies – this was so amazing! Art was not just any old class to me; it became my favorite thing to do as a hobby. I continued to work on many sketchbooks, paintings and crafts outside of school as well – it would not only keep me busy, but it was therapeutic and still is a way for me to relax.


Krista – When I reminisce during Teacher’s Appreciation Week, I reflect fondly on a teacher I had in grade school that had a positive influence on my life. Mrs. Werner, one of my grade school teachers, taught math. I struggled in this area during grade school, and she often would work with me one-on-one and even before and after class. She never once became frustrated or lost patience with my questions. She was extremely patient and worked diligently to get me caught up with the other students. I think that’s what makes teachers so special; their constant love for the subject and determination for each student to succeed.


Kelly – One specific teacher has not changed my life in particular, but they did make the school experience more fun! My third-grade teacher Mrs. Knepprath (not sure about that spelling anymore), was just a really fun teacher. I recall enjoying that time in elementary school, as the days were always fun, and the entire classroom (at least in my memory) always seemed to be happy. Later in life, my high school tennis coach and math teacher, Mr. Huberty, was also an approachable and fun guy. I knew him better on the tennis courts than in the classroom, but he made the decisions that were best for the team while keeping everyone on the team moving forward together. He also took the time on game days to get to know the families of the team members. There have been other great teachers along the way, but these two stand out to me.


Rick – As a student, I was very fortunate to have many great teachers. My absolute favorite teacher has to be my first-grade teacher Mrs. Lueck. Now having the perspective of her approach, she really encouraged everyone to show their personalities and had a keen eye for identifying and developing strengths. I have two younger sisters and they also had her as a teacher so that connection evolved as I would still see her even when I was in middle school and high school. We still keep in touch. She came to my wedding and we even ran into each other at the store back in March. Her commitment to teaching continues as last summer she dropped off butterfly chrysalises so that I could teach my son about how butterflies develop.


Take a time to thank a teacher today! Comment below with a favorite memory or the name of a teacher who changed your life.

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