who was your inspiration?

love to write, love to think, love to SLICE... please join our community

love to write, love to think, love to SLICE… please join our community

This morning I opened up the paper after another horrific week that left us all shaking our heads and wondering why,  I caught a glimpse of a friendly face from my past, a retired weatherman that was on our local news when I was a youngster in the suburbs.  Harry Volkman was famous for his weather reports, explaining what was happening as he went with a ‘woosh’ here and there as he was explaining the weather system.   Sometimes, Harry would break into a little song.  He came to schools, he wrote letters back to students.  In this article he talks about another little boy whom he encouraged from Aurora, Illinois. This little boy told him, on a visit to the station, that he wanted to be a weatherman someday too.  They kept in touch over the years and sure enough, he also became a beloved weatherman in the Chicago market.  His name is Tom Skillman.

Why did you become a teacher?  I became a teacher because of teachers in my life.  In this poem I highlight a few of my favorites.  Coincidentally, they were mostly from my Junior High years.  I don’t remember much about the content in those years, but I do remember learning how I wanted to live my life.  I miss my years in the middle school classroom and blessings on all of you who are still teaching the years of ‘angst and wonder’. So here is a poem that I wrote to honor those wonderful teachers.

Keep your Chin Up

I’ll never shake the table with a

                    GRE, ACT or even an Iowa,

I may never play Saturday Night Live

                    or the Willow Creek stage,

I’m not the type to argue in People’s Court

                    or even with that husband named Dave.

Climbing mountains leaves me faint and string hoop music

                    leaves me wishing that I could ‘Just Do It’ or something!

But thanks to Dr. Dieter I will

                    write my musings with passion.

and thanks to Miss Gracy I can

                    ham it up with the best of them to get us all through 9th hour.

and thanks to Mr. Hartman I will have

                    my say in team meetings.

and thanks to Miss Gaza I know about

                    persistence and finishing the long hike, through the bumpy places.

Thanks to my teachers, maybe forty years too late…

thanks for those good thoughts, silent cheers, written notes and whispers

                  “Keep your chin up, keep your chin up, Nancy!”


Dr.  Dieter- 11th grade English teacher, my first A in a class.

Miss Gracy- Friday afternoon drama teacher and English teacher

Mr. Hartman- social studies teacher, who taught student-led discussion, still my favorite strategy…

Miss Gaza- PE teacher who promised that someday I would look “okay”.

PS  I had other teachers that were not so great, I remember them vividly as well, they also taught me what not to become – but that is another post for another time.


About Nanc

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

4 responses »

  1. My first grade teacher, to whom I dedicated Day by Day, was my earliest inspiration. She was a workshop teacher and a RC teacher before those things were in vogue. I will always carry her with me whenever I teach kids or teachers.

  2. Teachers have such influence and most don’t even know how deep their influence is. It is awesome that you had great teachers in junior high. That is such an important stage of life, they can make or break you. I loved school, so I just wanted to stay in that environment forever.

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