Describe the best teacher you ever had

/ 8 February 2010

It has been too long that I haven’t posted a senior journal to my blog. Some were because I didn’t want the reflections out in the open, but more just because I was too lazy to post them here. In the extended body of this post I have my page-long thoughts on this senior journal topic. Hopefully from here on out all my future senior journals will get posted here even before they’re technically turned in. Enjoy, Alex.

Trying to pinpoint just one teacher as the best one I’ve ever had is hard, but I know this question could be central to part of my autobiography so I decided to answer it as best I could anyways. The very fact that I find it hard to choose one teacher is also a very good sign for my education. It means that every school I’ve been to, and vividly remember my experience at, is an exceptional learning environment. So, given that, I’ll weave through my top few teachers consecutively. The first teacher whom I feel was quite good, and comes up above one of the others (yet even with others), was my second-grade teacher Ms. Rodakia (no idea about that spelling…) at the Mason School in Boston. Aside from the very fact that she bothered to put together a nice farewell photo album for me when my family moved here, she built a classroom that was very lively and hands-on (much like both Crosswinds and Avalon are school-wide). The largest memory/example of this that is still with me, though fairly vague by today nonetheless, is of a month or so-long project that was building a “ship” in the classroom. I don’t quite remember what it was for, but I do vaguely remember the physical act of helping with the building the boat and the surrounding classroom activities. One other solid memory that I think was second grade is one afternoon waiting for my mom to pick me up after school and being at the school later than my teacher. Again, all this is quite vague (save for what the photos I have now show), but the memory of Ms. Rodakia as the best teacher I’ve had still persists to this day. As I noted above, both Crosswinds and Avalon have a similar hands-on nature to how they went about teaching us. So, naturally it is from these schools that the other “best teachers” come from. As per my consecutive listing, Kristen Siskow is the one teacher that stands out from the rest at Crosswinds. She was my homeroom teacher for the first 3 years (all the middle school years, grades 6-8) of my being at Crosswinds. There is way too much that changed, and continues to change, in my opinion for the worst at Crosswinds, but one of a few things that kept my trust in the school was the 3-year looping (which diminished to 2 in my second year, myself and my classmates were the final class to have gone through the 3-year looping) as it meant that solid relationships between the students and with the teachers could be established and thrive. The fact that Crosswinds is on the year-round calendar also helped sustain this sense of almost family-like community at the school. After both of those I can hardly say that any of the advisors here at Avalon really match up to my past teachers. But it’s plain fact that they are the final teachers of the K-12 sort that I’ll have, so will naturally be having the most vivid memories of. The school, as I’ve definitely stressed before, is built on the very values that enable individuality at all aspects of a high school education. Its advisors are central to this framework, and for the same core reason as Kristen Siskow was the teacher that stood out for me at Crosswinds, Ray Devlin is the advisor that stands out for me here at Avalon. I cannot say he meets the criteria for “best teacher”, but the role Avalon will have played in my life will align him to it anyways. So I guess that was two teachers who I’d consider to be the best teachers I’ve ever had. But naturally this is just the quick exploration of this and so though the first teacher I mentioned would stay in the position she is others would end up in between the cracks of this reflection.