So many teachers have affected my life and directed me toward my destiny. Who was my favorite teacher--the one that impacted my life the most then, as well as now? Could it have been my second grade teacher, Mrs. Pulsipher, who used apricot pits as manipulatives to help me learn to add and subtract? Could it have been my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Jones, who loved me and my classmates so unconditionally that we reciprocated that same type of love when she returned to the classroom after an extended absence due to an automobile accident? What about Mr. Taylor, my fifth grade teacher, who was also my elementary principal? His son and I were always vying for first and second place on our academic assignments in the class.
In junior high school, Mrs. Wight--my speech/drama teacher and advisor to our school newspaper when I was one of the four editors--could she have been the teacher who impacted me the most? She encouraged me to try out for the school play "I was a Teen-age Dracula". I played the part of the 'Teen-age Dracula' in that three act mystery-comedy. Ten years later, when I taught my first year classes at Mountain View Jr-Sr High School in Mountain View Wyoming, I taught speech and drama and directed our school play based only on the experience drawn from the teachings of Mrs. Wight.
Could Mr. Max Jensen, my vocational agriculture and FFA (Future Farmers of America) teacher have been the greatest influence in my life? His encouragement brought me to the Utah state finals FFA speech contest where I took first place. He also made it possible for me to apply for, and receive, Farm Bureau and Union Pacific Scholarships to Utah State Univeristy in Logan, Utah.
Certainly, it could't have been A. Louis Fife, one of my religion teachers who encouraged me to ask another senior who was in the same situation as I, having never dated, to go with me to the Senior Prom. It was the first date for both of us, and she tailored and sewed her dress for the occasion. We met with several other "friends" for board games at her home prior to the dance.
Undoubtedly, all of these and other teachers subconsciously affected my life, both then and now. Perhaps all of them contributed to my career choice of becoming an educator for one year at the high school level and for almost two score years, thus far, at the junior high school level.
The teachers who, arguably, have had the most profound influence on my life both at the time and in the years since were Floren and Phyllis Preece, neither of them my teachers in school.
During my senior year, I had foot surgery on both feet and was laid up for several weeks. During that time of recuperation, first using a wheelchair and later crutches before I could walk again on my own, I attended a weekly class at the Garland Tabernacle on Genealogy taught by the Preece's from Logan, Utah. It was sponsored by the Cache Genealogical Library.
It was in this class that I learned about my ancestors and developed the skills of documenting and verifying information on their lives and times. I learned how to document sources, and organize research findings. Most importantly, I came to know my predecessors!
As a result of this first class, I was called as a missionary to serve at the Cache Genealogical Library in Logan, Utah (some 18 miles away) on a weekly basis to help others research their ancestry. I continued to serve there during the time I attended Utah State University.
In about 1965, after having taught classes at Logan, and later during my courtship and marriage at Provo, Utah, I became one of the first Accedited Genealogists by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. As an avocation, these skills have served me well to help me support my family on a part-time basis (and occasionally on a full-time basis) allowing me to teach in the public school setting where financial remuneration hasn't always been adequate for my growing famly.
Having researched for the past fifty-three years, forty-six of those professionally, I am still researching and documenting the lives and times of my ancestors and having great success.
Yes, I would have to say that many teachers have impacted my life, but probably none so fully as Floren and Phyllis Preece.
Good teachers are a blessing from God. I had and then later worked with some of them over the course of my 36 years as an Educator. There were some real lemons mixed in there,too, unfortunately. A poor teacher is an abomination.
Don - Unfortunately there are always some rotten apples in the bushel. I love your comment to describe poor teachers. However, they sure make the great teachers look good.
Absolutely fantastic Golden. This is a clear example of what can happen when good teachers teach. It's also a great example of what can happen when a young boy/man allows himself to be taught. I regret not having that maturity.
To think that you are one of the first to receive accreditation in the Family History Library is huge!! I am honored to know you!! Great story with even greater lessons.
Tom - When I decided to apply for accreditation, I couldn't find anyone who had ever done it. So, I decided to go for it so that I would know what to study when I didn't pass it. Amazingly, I passed with 90% and then was required to research and write four papers to bring it up to 100% in order to qualify for accreditation.
I love the way you've written this story because it is so true there are usually many wonderful teachers that we had in school growing up as well as teachers outside of school each teaching us in their own special ways.