Celebrities Talk About The Influence Of Their Favorite Teachers

celebrities talk teachersTeachers give so much to students, families and communities. For this reason, it is nice to be able to give them the recognition they deserve during Teacher Appreciation Week. They work hard making sure kids get excellent education, encouragement and support, helping them achieve dreams, with very little thanks and praise.

We’ve scoured the internet to find what some of our favorite celebrities have shared about their favorite teachers and how their lives were influenced by them. Here we share 10 memories of some of today’s most famous people’s best educators.

Al Roker

Named Best Weatherman twice by New York Magazine, Al Roker is a feature reporter. He’s interviewed fascinating people like Peanuts creator Charles Shultz before his death. He credits elementary school teacher, Eleanor Fryer from New York’s St. Catherine Of Sienna School, for believing in him.

Oprah Winfrey

Talk show host and businesswoman Oprah Winfrey praises her fourth grade teacher, Mary Duncan from Tennessee’s Wharton Elementary School, for being inspirational. Oprah feels teachers are crucial influences in children’s lives and credits Mrs. Duncan with instilling a lifelong love of learning.

Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin is an actor from a large family, including four other actors. Alec admires Bernice Hoffman, his fourth grade teacher who recognized special leadership qualities very early. She nurtured these qualities and taught Alec that he could do anything. She once asked him to save her a seat at his future inauguration.

Edie Falco

Multi award-winning actress, famous for her Carmela Soprano role in HBO’s “The Sopranos”, Edie praised teacher Sandy Valerio for teaching her to always do her best and that she is the instrument used in her craft.

Guy Fieri

Television chef and entrepreneur, Guy credits middle school history teacher, Fran Fischer, for instilling the belief that he could succeed. She taught him to harness his seemingly boundless energy in positive ways and helped by inspiring and mentoring him.

Laura Bush

Former First Lady Laura Bush was inspired by her second grade teacher, Charlene Gnagy, to continue her education until she earned an Bachelor of Science in Education Degree and a Library Science Master’s Degree. She credits Charlene for her love of learning and inspiration for teaching.

James Franco

James Franco is an actor famous for roles in the films “Whatever It Takes” and “Blind Spot”. He has profound admiration for his high school Journalism teacher, Esther Wojcicki, for treating students as professionals and believing in their talents.

Marg Helgenberger

Actress Marg Helgenberger acknowledges high school English teacher Mariann von Rein for discovering her true talent and encouraging her acting pursuits. Mariann convinced Marg to join the speech team, which fostered self-confidence.

Miranda Lambert

This award-winning country music artist credits two high school teachers, April Coker and Janice Caldwell, for instilling confidence in her. With constant lessons of perseverance, they helped shape Miranda into a confident talent.

Carrie Underwood

Multi-platinum and award-winning country artist Carrie Underwood commends her mother and two sisters who are all teachers. Her mother has taught for 25 years. Carrie admires her for shaping children’s lives. Her sisters taught kindergarten, first and fifth grades. Carrie says that teaching runs in her family.

Teachers play an important role in shaping young people’s lives. Without their thoughtfulness and exceptional teaching skills, many celebrities might not have found fame and success. In today’s society where teachers are often under-appreciated  it is refreshing to hear about them being held in such high regard from some of today’s most high profile and successful people.

About the Author

Sharon White  has been teaching elementary school for 15 years and writes frequently for blogs and other online resources about her vocation.  More of what she has to say about teaching and education as a career can be found at Top 10 Best Online Masters in Special Education Degree Programs.

A Golden Apple for Teacher Appreciation Week

teacher appreciationIn the United States, Teacher Appreciation Week falls during the second week of May. Often students will show appreciation to their teachers with gifts, but Teacher Appreciation Week is a community-wide festivity.

Teacher Appreciation Week is spearheaded by the National Education Association. The National Education Association calls Teacher Appreciation Week a time for honoring teachers and their lasting impact on the lives of millions of youngsters.

Recent Developments

During the last week of April, board members from the National Education Association petitioned congressmen to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 126 as well as House Resolution 167, according to NEAToday.Org. The source went on to say that both bills are designed to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week and National Teacher Day. National Teacher Day was celebrated on May 7th this year.

Suggestions for Spreading the Word

The National Education Association’s website lists ways in which everyday people can spread the message of Teacher Appreciation Week. The top suggestion on the National Education Association’s website is to bolster awareness by liking a teacher on Facebook. The idea is to publicly credit a teacher who had a positive impact on one’s life. The National Education Association’s website also features cover images that users may affix to their Twitter or Facebook accounts.

The National Education Association recommends petitioning Congress to increase the salaries and benefits of teachers around the country. In addition, the National Education Association provides links to thank a local educator or post teacher appreciation videos. The NEA website even offers site goers the chance to nominate a teacher as People Magazine’s Teacher of the Year.

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week technically falls between May 6th and May 10th in the United States, but teacher appreciation day was May 7th this year. It is worth noting that even the US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, notes the importance of celebrating teachers in May. Duncan summarized the teaching profession as joyful, complex and important.  Duncan proceeded to encourage students and parents to show their appreciation to the 3.2 million teachers fostering robust minds and ironclad virtue in tomorrow’s leaders.

In addition, the Secretary of Education noted the importance that technology and knowledge will play in tomorrow’s economic landscape. Arne Duncan stated that the onus and challenge of creating citizens ready to tackle these technological nuances falls mostly on the shoulders of teachers. Duncan culminated his address by noting that teaching falls between an art and science, and Duncan ended by noting that teaching is above all a public service. Teacher Appreciation Week is a chance to laud teachers for their selfless service.

Although Teacher Appreciation Week occurs in May in the United States, World Teachers’ Day is celebrated on October 5th internationally. The idea behind World Teachers’ Day is to commemorate the efforts of teachers worldwide and ensure that tomorrow’s minds are well-trained for an increasingly complex and interconnected future economy. It has been UNESCO’s finding that World Teachers’ Day enhances awareness and appreciation for teachers on a global scale.

Regardless of what the calendar says, teachers should be appreciated and celebrated every day of the year for their selfless devotion to their profession and the young lives they are helping mold.


New England Communities Divided on Value of Internet Classes

online classesVia U.S. Highway 3, Framingham, Mass., is barely 65 miles south of Manchester, N.H. On questions of online schooling, though, the two New England towns might as well exist on separate planets. The New York Times reported recently that Manchester, N.H., school officials want to manage the loss of 95 full-time teachers by having some students take courses online during the school day. Parents and teachers are not at all pleased. In stark contrast to their northern neighbors, when Framingham school district officials earlier this week announced their plan to extend online instruction into the town’s middle schools, parents and teachers wholeheartedly endorsed the initiative.

In Manchester, parents and teachers are expressing fierce hostility toward the school district’s plan to expand its use of New Hampshire’s Virtual Learning Academy, creating a virtual learning lab and a remote classroom at each of the district’s three high schools. Labs will link to the statewide library of instructional materials; remote classrooms will allow students at one school to enroll in under-subscribed classes at a sister school, participating via interactive monitors. The plan also includes substantially increased collaboration with the Manchester campus of the University of New Hampshire.

Anger and Advocacy in Manchester

Calling virtual classrooms “electronic babysitters,” outraged teachers and parents claim the plan fails to address fundamental problems in revenue generation, budgeting and governance. A few frightened teachers openly express concern that substituting machines for credentialed personnel sets a very dangerous precedent. However, Manchester Superintendent Thomas Brennan Jr. advocates the plan on its merits, arguing, ““It deals with the reality of budgets and the limited resources we have, and the need for students and school districts to catch up with technology.” Speaking to traditionalists’ concerns, Dr. Brennan said, “I believe class sizes will diminish, and it will allow more opportunities for teachers to work with students that are struggling.”

Eagerness and Enthusiasm In Framingham

Meanwhile, in nearby Framingham, Mass., the prevailing sentiment about online schooling runs directly counter to public opinion in Manchester. Students and parents long ago embraced the idea of enriching the curriculum with Internet instruction, and they want more online classes for younger students. The “MetroWest Daily News” reports school district officials have outlined plans for expanding their Virtual High School program to the local middle school. The school district has collaborated in the international Virtual High School for over 14 years, linking Framingham high school students with classmates and teachers in 30 states and 15 countries. The program allows high-achieving students to take sophisticated, specialized courses the district otherwise could not afford to offer. Calling Virtual High School “a staple” in the curriculum and stressing its popularity, Superintendant Kevin Lyons told parents, “Virtual High School is really a part of our local vocabulary,” and he and his colleagues look forward to expanding the program so that more students can capitalize on the program’s exceptional learning opportunities.

An Online Alumna’s View

In Santee, Ca., a middle class suburb east of San Diego, Jessica Molina declares online classes saved her academic life. When her dedication to cheerleading, dance and gymnastics put her more than a semester behind her classmates, Jessie elected to catch up and then finish high school via the Grossmont High School District’s online curriculum. Several years ago, the district chose to address its drop-out problem by putting its entire curriculum online. Developers went so far as to guarantee online courses satisfy the University of California’s “a-to-g” pattern for college preparation. “The courses cover all the same materials and maintain the same high standards my teachers did,” Jessie says, “but online classrooms had resources to help me understand the most difficult materials. I could repeat difficult concepts until I got them, and I could revise my essays until they scored B’s and A’s.”

Saying, “I earned this with blood, sweat and lots of tears,” Jessie donned her cap and gown and collected her diploma with her classmates. “If it weren’t for the Internet, I would be just another drop-out, a pretty hopeless failure,” Molina admits. “I cannot tell you how totally grateful I feel for online classes.”

Top 5 Places to Work as a Teacher

Recent college graduates entering the teaching workforce may find it difficult to live on a teacher’s salary in some areas of the country. If you haven’t done much research, consider these top five places to work as a teacher.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

With the average salary for teachers at just above $50,000, Minneapolis is an excellent place to live for beginning teachers. Newly certified teachers that specialize in computer science, languages, math, biology or chemistry should consider Minneapolis a top priority due to current shortages in these subjects.

Some of the many advantages that you will find working as a young teacher in Minneapolis are the vibrant nightlife, young singles scene and affordability of housing; the average cost for a one bedroom apartment is $840, much less than most major metropolitan areas in the country.

Providence, Rhode Island

The average salary for a teacher in Providence stands at over $65,000, far above most of the country. Considering this fact alone, new teachers looking to get the most out of their salaries may find Providence an excellent place to settle down, with the average cost for a one bedroom apartment at $800.

While the higher salary in Providence is the main attraction for new teachers, you should also consider the fact that the city puts such a high value on education. With many class sizes being around ten students per teacher, the fact of being able to effectively teach every student is a huge bonus for new graduates.

If you are looking for a teaching job in Providence, you should consider that the city currently has teaching needs in special education, computer science and math.

Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford is another excellent city for beginning teachers. With the average salary for teachers at roughly $66,000, the rental price for a one bedroom apartment of $900 is very affordable. Current in-demand needs in Hartford include special education, elementary teachers, history, mathematics and physical education.

Not only does Hartford offer an affordable lifestyle for teachers, location is everything for the younger generation that lives there. New York City is only a short drive away and is a popular destination for weekend getaways.

Phoenix, Arizona

While teachers make an average of $43,000 per year, average rental prices for a one bedroom apartment still stay fairly low at under $800 per month. Based on these two facts alone, Phoenix is an excellent place for a young graduate to get their career started as a teacher.

Those seeking positions in special education, elementary education and mathematics may find it easier to get a job in Phoenix than in other cities.

Washington, D.C.

While Washington, D.C. offers an excellent average salary for teachers at over $62,000 per year, the rental rates in the metro area stand at an average of over $2,000 per month for a one bedroom apartment. You can still avoid these outrageous rates by living in one of DC’s many suburbs in Virginia or Maryland.

Washington, D.C. currently has a need for special education, mathematics and foreign language teachers.

Washington, D.C.’s school district also offers excellent yearly bonuses for high performing teachers, and at times may add up to an extra $25,000, but be wary of job security as a beginning teacher; the protections offered in many areas is not offered in D.C.