Most of us have had a high school teacher or two that motivated or inspired us.
For me, that teacher was Mr. David Hostetler. In addition to being Streetsboro High School’s football coach, he was also the yearbook and newspaper adviser. Laid-back and easygoing, his approach to the coursework in my journalism and photography classes made it easy for me to learn, ask questions, and most importantly, have fun while doing it.
I knew I loved magazines from an early age, but those classes showed me what it was like to interview a source, write a story and edit a newspaper. It was a trial run for what I wanted to do as a career and those moments surrounded by Macintosh Performas and working with QuarkXPress solidified my decision.
While SAT scores, AP courses and extracurriculars are important, having great teachers can be just as critical. For associate editor Sheehan Hannan, who graduated from Anderson High School in suburban Cincinnati, his senior AP English teacher Mr. Clutter pushed him to become a better writer, and it’s stayed with him years later.
“He was a ferocious editor to our papers, always pushing us to challenge our own ideas,” Hannan says. “He pushed you and coddled you until you grew. I was simultaneously terrified of him and wanted desperately to please him. He taught me that it was possible to make a living and a life through words and stories and ideas.”
And for students who might have a tough time fitting in, having a teacher who believes in them can make a world of difference as it did for features editor James Bigley II, who graduated from Cloverleaf High School. “I was a loner in high school and kept mostly to myself,” he says. “Ms. Evert, my 10th grade biology teacher, would ask me all the time how I was doing, what I was thinking. Check-ins with her were as much about keeping me focused as it was about making sure I was OK. By the end of the class, I was more outspoken, more confident, more sure of myself.”
As students are heading back to school — whether virtually, in person or some combination of both — don’t forget the vital role teachers play in our future.