Here’s to all our amazing teachers

Published 10:00 am Saturday, November 6, 2021

We all have that one teacher. For me, it was Mr. Clinton at Pascagoula High School.

He taught advanced math — algebra, precalculus, all the things that made most students’ cringe.

But Mr. Clinton loved math, and the thought everyone else should as well.

He wore a short-sleeved blue button down every day, dark framed 1970s glasses, and a pocket protector, hiding the extra chalk he used to write out the formulas.

And when Mr. Clinton would start to work the formulas for us? It was like a scene from a move.

He scrawled from one end of the long, green chalkboard to the other – often times carrying over to the cinder block walls, where he scratched extra thick lines for us to copy.

If the trash can was in the way as he worked, he never acknowledged it, choosing instead to stumble halfway into the can, still shuffling and writing.

His notes were exhaustive. His tests were brutal.

But by the time we graduated, we knew understood that math and, yes, we even liked it. I’m not sure wall loved it the way Mr. Clinton did, but we certainly weren’t afraid. He taught and challenged future engineers, scientists, doctors, accountants and, yes, even a chemical-engineering-student-turned-journalist. And he never flinched in his expectations or his belief that not only should we learn, we would learn. And learn well.

And while Mr. Clinton wasn’t the only teacher who inspired or challenged me — I could name half a dozen whose lessons still shape my work, my life and my decisions today — he’s still the first one I think of when asked, “who was the most amazing teacher you had?”

I’ve been thinking about Mr. Clinton and all those teachers lately, as we’ve launched the A+mazing Teachers contest here at The Daily Leader.

Hosted on our website at www.dailyleader.com/contests and sponsored by the Bank of Brookhaven, the contest allows us to recognize the amazing teachers who are making a difference in our classrooms right now.

Each month, we invite you – the parents, students, faculty and friends – to nominate individuals for the A+mazing Teacher award. After the nomination phase closes, we’ll cull the top nominees and put them before you once again to vote.

Right now, if you check out the contests page, you’ll see we are accepting nominations through Nov. 15. The question is, who do you think should be the first A+Mazing Teacher? You’ll have to log on and cast your vote to let us know.

Once all the votes are tallied, we’ll share a story with our readers about the teacher and what her, or him, tick and the good folks at Bank of Brookhaven will help us honor the teacher.

I sure you’ll hope you’ll enjoy getting to know our A+mazing Teachers as much as I will.

And if you ever need help with calculus or trig, I know some alums from Mr. Clinton’s class who would be glad to share what they learned …

Stacy Graning is general manager of The Daily Leader and Mississippi Regional Editor. You can reach her at stacy.graning@dailyleader.com.