Important lessons learned from a teacher

After reading the moving NPR story of a neurosurgeon who thanked his high school science teacher, investigative reporter Steve Silberman began to imagine all the other stories out there of a teacher’s influence on prominent writers, teachers, and scientists.  “It struck me how rarely we hear from accomplished people about the debt they owe their teachers,” writes Silberman in the NeuroTribes blog on PLoS Blogs. Lucky for us, Silberman approached a number of scientists and writers and asked them “What’s the most important lesson you learned from a teacher?” Read the wonderful submissions he received from award-winning science journalists, best-selling authors, and researchers paying tribute to the teachers who influenced their paths. The stories are both entertaining and inspiring.  As Silberman notes, “The words of a true teacher stay with us a long time, offering wise counsel in a confusing world and a potent inoculation against foolishness.” What’s the most important lesson you learned from a teacher?

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4 Responses to Important lessons learned from a teacher

  1. Debra Shapiro says:

    Last February, NSTA Reports interviewed three scientists about their most memorable science teachers and how their teachers inspired them to become scientists. See

  2. Patsy says:

    My high school English teacher had a huge impact on me. He was the first of several very important mentors who believed in me long before I believed in myself. Forty-three years later, I can still quote what he wrote in my yearbook, “Remember who you are, what you are, and those you left behind.”

  3. Heather P. says:

    My third grade teacher is the one who inspired me the most. She was all about the students and did everything she could to help us feel successful. I hated writing, but she pushed me to do my best. I ended up winning first place in the “Young Authors” contest. She made me feel like I was capable of doing anything.

  4. Jesse says:

    My most important teacher was not a teacher. It was my Marine Corps Drill Instructor. I have dyslexia, ADHD, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. In first grade I would stand to read and could not. All the kids laughed at me. Every day that year the same thing, I hated my teacher, and books, and school. The day after I graduated from high school I left for Marine Corps Boot Camp at Parris Island. I did not go to graduation.
    My Drill Instructor was the hardest man I have ever known. He taught me who I was. He helped me learn I am a good learner by doing. I would have died protecting that man. I cannot think of a greater thing to say about a teacher than that.
    Now I am a retired Agronomist and teach middle school science, critical thinking and agriculture. I have lived a great life because Staff Sargent Howard.
    Once you know how you are there is nothing you can’t do. I got all A’s in college. My brain healed itself from the 107 degree temperature I had as a kid. It fired my brain.
    Thank you Staff Sargent Howard. You gave me a great life.

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