Thank you, teachers

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Who was your favorite teacher?

Maybe you had more than one. Maybe you didn’t have any. Or maybe you just haven’t given it much thought. I’ve had a few. Here are some of them.

Mrs. Conn. I don’t know her first name, but she was my teacher in first grade at West Corinth Elementary. I remember her being a person who smiled a lot and was kind to us. 

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I remember her asking if my dad was a birdwatcher when I correctly identified a goldfinch in a photograph. Nervous and confused, I said, “Yes, ma’am.” Then cried because I had lied. I don’t know if my dad watched birds. I just liked them and knew what that one was. I told her I was sorry.

Mrs. Conn didn’t get mad. She just hugged me and told me it was alright to get nervous sometimes. If only she knew how often that simple gesture and few words have helped me.

Mrs. Sarah was my children’s discipleship teacher at West Corinth Baptist Church. I don’t re-member what she looked like, really, but I do recall her noticing I had unanswered questions and taking the time to answer each one, and to help me really understand. She was instrumental in my understanding that I needed to know Jesus as my personal Savior. I can’t thank her enough for that.

Mr. Ed McGowan Sr. was my principal at Hickory High School. He was always well-dressed, with bushy hair and a bushy mustache. When he was stern, he was an immovable force. When he was happy and smiling, his happiness was contagious. 

A simple word from Mr. McGowan and we all did what we were asked or told to do, whether out of fear or respect, or both. I learned the hard way that not only was I responsible for what I did and said, but for where I hung out and with whom, and whether I spoke up or kept my mouth shut. He was fair and demanding. 

After I’d graduated and started at The University of Southern Mississippi, I was still expected to check in regularly with Mr. McGowan and give him updates on my grades and general progress. He was my “principal” for at least a couple of years post-Hickory High. He was a man who cared.

Even now, 36 years later, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t still love and respect that man.

Dr. Bob Stewart was my primary professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He guided me through many classes and studies during my time there, and has kept up with me since. He became a friend to me even as he was my instructor and mentor, and I learned much about sharing and defending my Christian faith from this man. A fellow C.S. Lewis nerd, Bob and I have enjoyed many discussions on the 20th-century author, professor and apologist. 

Even though I’ve told him, I don’t think Dr. Stewart knows the extent to which he has influenced and encouraged me. 

These are a few of my favorite teachers over the years. But my favorite two are much closer: My parents. 

Mom and Dad taught me more than I can possibly cite, but those things include how to behave, be polite, how to read and write, how to look out for one another, and how to love God and others. Mom taught English (her grandkids call her Grammar) and Dad taught literature, but mostly they have taught us and everyone around them about life and love and faith. 

If your favorite teachers don’t know how they’ve influenced you, an apple or mug or card is nice, but your thanks and words of appreciation are even nicer.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at