Celebrating National Teacher Appreciation Day with Stories About Our Favorite Teachers

Teacher Appreciation Cruise Around the World

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May 3, 2022 is National Teacher Appreciation Day. It’s a special day to honor teachers and their dedication to their students, communities, and education.  

Teachers’ impacts on our students extend well beyond the school campus and can last years—if not a lifetime. To celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Day, Raptor employees share stories below about their favorite K-12 teachers.  

Story by Kam, Director, Business Applications

My sister, Korren, is an elementary school art teacher in Humble, Texas. For National Teacher Appreciation Day, I want to honor my sister. Though I was never her student, I have been able to witness the impact, passion, and love that she pours into her students. 

She has the challenge of teaching nearly 1,000 students, which gives her barely enough time to eat, breathe, or think during the school day. This requires a lot of nights and weekends to prepare. I have witnessed not only the time spent during the evenings and weekends, but she even sets aside time on vacations to be ready to return to the classroom. There is only one word to sum all her dedication and hard work up: love. 

Story by Vivian, Community Manager

Ms. Kennedy (now Pasinski) was my third-grade teacher. Like most of my elementary school teachers, she always went beyond the usual requirements of her role as an educator. She was loving, passionate, hilarious, and a tremendous role model for all of us. She frequently attended my classmates’ sporting events, recitals, and birthday parties, participating in all of the fun and games. 

Some teachers might look forward to winding down the work and structure the month before summer break, but Ms. Kennedy did the opposite by taking us all on a “cruise around the world” as we completed the year. Each student was equipped with a passport, suitcase, and sunscreen, and we would board our cruise ship (the classroom had portholes and seagulls on CDs) and take off to a new continent to feel immersed in a new ecosystem or culture during our school day. For what must have been a month, we travelled the world learning about different regions like Europe, Southeast Asia, and my personal favorite, the Amazon Rainforest. Math and ELA lessons were seamlessly (but surely not effortlessly) tied into our travels. It was the highlight of my favorite school year. 

Ms. Kennedy fostered a love for learning that I strived to replicate during my 6 years as a teacher – a career that ultimately led me to Raptor where I work with my team to educate and engage with customers just like the incredible teachers in my life. 

Thank you to Ms. Kennedy and to all the teachers out there inspiring students with their passion and love. We appreciate all that you do (a lot of which we don’t even see) throughout the entire year! 

Story by Claudia, Contract Administrator

Abdul Kalam once said, “Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual.” I’m fortunate to have had many teachers throughout my life who have been influential in shaping me into the person that I’ve become. My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. James, was my favorite. As my grade and Sunday school teacher, Mrs. James had an impact on my life not only educationally but spiritually as well.  

Her classroom was full of motivational quotes that she shared to encourage her students. A particular one stood out for me, and I have used the message as motivation throughout my life. The poster read, “Failure is not an option because nothing beats a failure but a trial.”  

As an educator, she was always dedicated, encouraging, compassionate, kind, and stern but loving towards all her students. In her classroom, she taught us how to be courteous and kind and treat each other with respect. She was also instrumental in teaching me how to problem solve through her Logics and Reasoning classes. I use many of the strategies she taught me still today. She was truly the epitome of a great educator because she had a passion for teaching and loved and enjoyed her profession. 

Story by Beth, Social Media Manager

My favorite teacher was my 10th grade AP Environmental Science teacher. It was a very specific and difficult class, but Mrs. Zambo made it fun to learn. She answered every single question and made sure everyone understood the information. She would even push certain topics to the next day to make sure all her students were caught up before moving ahead.  

She definitely made an impact on me. Once, when I was frustrated in class because I couldn’t get the answer on an assignment, I ended up breaking into tears. Mrs. Zambo helped me work through the assignment, while also helping me feel better and acknowledge that it’s all right if I don’t get the answer the first time. My mental health that day was not good because of other things going on in my life, and she made the time and effort to help me work through something when she could’ve accepted my assignment as a failure. That’s what made her my favorite teacher. 

Story by Will, Product Manager

Mr. Winkler is one of my favorite teachers. He had boundless energy, knew countless American factoids, and always had a welcoming charisma that made every student want a seat in his classroom. Our 11th grade U.S. History class was not only my favorite, but also the class that made me want to become a history teacher years later.  

Before I even stepped foot in his classroom, Coach Winkler was one of my wrestling coaches. He was not your standard coach who was just there to teach technique. His job was much more important. Coach Winkler was there to motivate you, and he would do that so well that he’d convince you that you could run through a brick wall. With that said, I could not wait to see him in a more docile setting like a history classroom. 

I took his history class during my junior year of high school. He did not let those 4 classroom walls contain his energy and exuberance. He incorporated fun things into his classroom like the “Winkler Power Clap,” which was when he would have the entire class clap a singular time as loud as they could followed by a grunt. This was in response to a correct answer or a great question.  

His depth of knowledge when it came to American history and the fun interesting stories that he would incorporate were second to none. His “coaching voice” would make its way into a lecture as he would get visibly excited about the lesson at hand.  

Coach Winkler’s true impact on me is crystal clear. Eight years after leaving his class, I found myself standing face-to-face with him, coaching a wrestling match. Both of us, at the time, were high school history teachers and varsity wrestling coaches. For those wondering… his team won that match.

Thank you, Teachers!

Andy Rooney, a radio and television writer, said: “Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.” 

We want to say thank you to all teachers. We appreciate your dedication and passion. The impact you have on your students is immense, and we sincerely thank you for everything you do to inspire them to be better.  

We’d love to hear about your favorite teachers! Join us in celebrating teachers by sharing your story with us on LinkedIn.