Tribute to Teachers

Having kids certainly brings perspective. When your kids go to school, you hope they have good teachers who will not only educate them, but also inspire them. This is why as parents we care so much about who teaches our children. After all, one bad teacher could have a lifelong impact on a young person. Conversely, a great teacher will also have the same effect.

This post is to celebrate two great teachers I have had in my life. Too often they toil in the shadows, never truly getting the recognition they deserve. But having kids of my own and seeing them be inspired, or not, by their own teachers, has me wanting to recognize their contribution to who I have become.

Monsieur B. Cinanni

I was always a fan of history. My friends can attest to that (as do my bookshelves). From a young age, I would devour books devoted to history. But that interest would become a passion after I took M. Cinanni’s history class. To this day, I am an avid student of history. While I was not able to become a professional historian, I still credit him in large part for where I am today. Why? He could have done what countless other teachers of history do. He could have made me memorize dates and events. He did not. Instead, he made me think about the events that took place long ago. Why did they happen? What was the impact? In essence, he made me think critically. He also made me read critically. Don’t automatically believe what you read in the papers or in books, he would say. Instead, make up your own mind based on facts. I used those skills when I went to University in the History Program, and still use them today at my work. But even more important than all that, he made history fun. He got everyone involved. He would do crazy things to keep us on our toes (the Cinanni Walk was infamous at our school — right out of Monty Python). If you ask any student who took a class with M. Cinanni, they would remember him without a doubt. M. Cinanni, if you are reading this, thank you. Merci pour tout ce que tu as fait pour moi.

Monsieur R. Guyot

Math was never my strong point growing up. I remember being intensely frustrated. Especially when it came to algebra or calculus. I kept telling myself, when will I ever need this after I graduate? A typical reaction from someone who just doesn’t get math you might say. In any case, after having the same math teacher from grade 9 to 11, it became abundantly clear that my ambition of going to Royal Military College to become a fighter pilot was not going to happen (you need to succeed in math to get in). Especially after my teacher promised she would fail me if I took her grade 12 math class. So, I dropped from Advanced Math to General Math for grade 12. It was a severe blow to my ego. Why was it so hard for me when so many people got it? I would spend hours studying and practicing math, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I felt stupid. I went to my grade 12 General Math class and met the teacher, M. Guyot. He was a down-to-earth guy who drove a motorcycle to work, wore jeans and cowboy boots almost every day, and wasn’t afraid to shoot the shit with us kids. He was also a fantastic teacher. He took concepts that were previously incomprehensible to me and made them real. Instead of teaching theory, he taught how to apply that theory to everyday things, like keeping a budget, buying and selling items, etc. It took him about a month to make me understand what my previous teacher couldn’t do in three years. He single-handedly gave me my confidence back. I wasn’t an idiot. It gave me swagger at a point in my life when I absolutely needed it. For that, he ranks as one of the most influential teachers in my life. Merci Monsieur Guyot.

There are others I would like to recognize, but this blog is already lengthy. I think perhaps that this thanking of people in my life will become a regular feature, therefore, there will be other opportunities. Too often we thank or recognize people after they have gone. I am of a mind to do so now, while they live.

See what Jen has to say about the teachers that played a key role in her life.

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