I would not be who I am or where I am today without the guidance and wisdom of my high school history teacher. Mr. Hastings continues to influence my education and personal development even though it's been 10 years since I sat in his classroom at Everett High School. He believed in me and recognized my potential. He understood my values and genuinely cared about my future.
In the classroom, Mr. Hastings prepared me for the rigors of college. I learned how to study, how to take tests, and how to write--all at a college level. My gen-ed courses were a breeze thanks to the study habits and learning techniques I adopted during Mr. Hastings' U.S. Government and Honors State History classes.
Although I excelled academically my freshman year of college, it was a difficult year for me personally. Health problems led me to withdraw shortly into my sophomore year. At 19, I found myself at the first major cross-roads of my newly earned adulthood status. I needed to change schools and my major. While I contemplated how to move forward, I remembered something Mr. Hastings told me my senior year. He said that whatever I chose to do with my life and for a profession, that I should never stop writing. I had a gift and I owed it to myself to cherish and develop that gift. With those words in mind, I turned to Mr. Hastings for advice and direction.
I was no longer his student, but Mr. Hastings took the time to meet with me in person to research potential colleges and program options. Together we charted a new course for my life. Because of his help, I chose to attend Utah State University and major in English with an emphasis in professional and technical writing. Attending USU was one of the happiest times in my life. I know I may never have gotten the opportunity to rediscover happiness and passion if it hadn't been for Mr. Hastings' guidance.
During the summer and holiday breaks that came while I pursued my bachelor's degree, Mr. Hastings and I would always get together for lunch to catch-up. Now faraway from my hometown, it's been a few years since I've seen him but he his wisdom still plays a role in my life. In a month, I'll graduate with my master's degree in journalism. I think that accomplishment would make him proud. Yesterday I had a personal essay published on a major website, which got a phenomenal response.When I doubt myself and my abilities, I often remember Mr. Hastings' words.
This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. I know my life is only one of many Mr. Hastings has touched and influenced. He's the kind of teacher you don't forget. I am grateful for teacher's like him who take the time to get to know their students on an individual level and are invested in their success beyond the classroom.
Because of my teachers, my life has been forever changed. What teachers have inspired and influenced your life? Follow Webucator on Twitter for more great stories!