Today’s challenge is: Who was or is your most inspirational colleague, and why?
To be honest, I was supposed to write this post yesterday, but had a hard time coming up with someone to write about. I have many wonderful colleagues, but one specific one didn’t stick out in my mind immediately after reading this prompt. After a little thinking, I came up with two people that I really think have shaped my vision of teaching and career goals.
My first inspiration is a former professor. I’m not sure that counts as a “colleague”, but since I’m not his student any longer, and we still keep in touch, I am going to say it does! Dr. Matt Miller was my first-year chemistry teacher at South Dakota State University. I was in the honors/majors section, which meant I was in a class of 25 instead of 300. Not only do I think I was lucky for the amount of one-on-one time I was able to get through this section, I think I was very lucky to have Dr. Miller as my professor. Dr. Miller taught high school chemistry for nine years before going back to school to obtain his Ph.D in Chemistry. I think this is part of the reason he was one of my favorite college professors. He actually knew how to TEACH students. I always appreciated his demonstrations, discussions, and models. His energy and excitement for the world of chemistry is unmatched by anyone else I’ve ever met. I believe this is the point in my life where I really fell in love with the topics of chemistry, but what I didn’t realize was that I was also seeing a model of great teaching.
My second inspiration is a person I’ve met once. Yes, I’ve only met this person one time. However, I feel like I’ve known him for a while now. He is a teacher, author, speaker, and pirate. If you haven’t guessed, its Dave Burgess. After reading Teach Like a Pirate, I felt like I had just gone through the best professional development session of my life. That was then topped by getting to see Dave speak this summer at the REMAST conference. The ideas Dave brings to the world of education are so inspirational, I couldn’t leave him out of my list of inspiration colleagues. Although I don’t think I’ve done enough this year in implementing his ideas, I am always ready and excited to try new things and push my limits thanks to his inspiration.