(I also love this author, and participated in the blog tour for The Dungeoneers, did a quick Q&A with questions from my son when he used Anderson as his author study author, participated in the blog tour and reviewed Sidekicked, and joined the Minion blog tour.)
My school career was filled with enough loving, memorable, inspiring teachers that I had trouble choosing just one. Even this set of names doesn't include the many, many teachers who kept me learning and helped me mature and grow.
Mr. Bateman - Fifth Grade
My reading choices in elementary school were a bit less than traditional. We had to read and do book reports on a regular basis, and Mr. Bateman was always flexible and encouraging. Maybe the other kids weren't super interested in hearing my presentations on C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy, but he never minded. When I decided it was time to read Moby Dick - and it took me significantly longer to get through the book than our book report schedule required - he gave me the extensions I needed to reach my goal.
Believe it or not - this energetic man is still teaching elementary school. He's been there since 1980! I recently saw photos of him on the extended beach trip with his current 5th grade class. That's serious dedication.
(I started at this elementary school in second grade. I'd like to also give huge thanks to my other teachers - Mr. MacDonald who managed to handle a very emotionally intense 2nd grader without losing his mind, Miss Sink who helped me learn about butterflies, and Miss Wressler who doodled fun creatures on all of our purple mimeographed worksheets and invited her whole fourth grade class to her wedding.)
"Doc Rock" - Dr. Roberts
A man of science and a man of faith. Dr. Roberts taught earth science, physics, and several theology classes. He could read and write Hebrew, Greek, and several other languages. One of my major regrets of my high school years is that I never was able to make the time to learn Greek with him. Doc took us on geology field trips that were amazing. I still have a large bin of rocks, minerals, and fossils I found on those trips.
Here's my favorite set of memories of Doc Rock. I first met him when I was touring the school before second grade. I was convinced this wasn't the school for me before I even arrived, but I was also a pretty big rock hound. When I walked into his classroom in the high school, I was enthralled. Then he pulled me aside and handed me a special treasure - a fluorite octahedron. Sold. This was the school for me. Time went by, and I lost my crystal (but never my love of rocks!). In ninth grade, I told him how much that day meant to me, and how it helped me decide that this would be the right school for me. He reached into his stash of minerals and handed me another fluorite octahedron.
Jamie Leach was a fairly new teacher when our class descended upon him. (I think it was his second year at the school). His enthusiasm for chemistry AND for us was contagious. He was also a dedicated youth leader who never minded setting time aside to talk to his students about life. His class was where I met my husband, who was a year older and helped run our chemistry labs. Jamie's daughter ended up walking down the aisle as my flower girl.
Fraulein McDonald (now Dr. MacDonald)
It may be telling that I chose "Gabrielle" as my German name when I started in her class because I thought the nickname "Gabby" would be appropriate. That never mattered to this amazing teacher.
Dr. MacDonald was a wonderful language teacher (and still is working at my alma mater - she started in 1981). More importantly, she felt that exposure to other cultures was a vital part of our education. She orchestrated an exchange program, and I had a German "sister" come live with me for six weeks before I went and lived at her house for another six. She also took 10th and 11th graders to tour Germany and Austria each summer. We were good kids, but I'm sure we tried her patience on more than a few occasions. While I no longer speak German, her willingness to help me spread my wings and take those risks had a huge impact on my life.
MS. BIXBY’S LAST DAY
Read a 48 page excerpt here
(Book summary from publisher)
John David Anderson, author of Sidekicked and The Dungeoneers, returns with a funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking contemporary story about three boys, one teacher, and a day none of them will ever forget.
Everyone knows there are different kinds of teachers. The boring ones, the mean ones, the ones who try too hard, the ones who stopped trying long ago. The ones you’ll never remember, and the ones you want to forget. Ms. Bixby is none of these. She’s the sort of teacher who makes you feel like school is somehow worthwhile. Who recognizes something in you that sometimes you don’t even see in yourself. Who you never want to disappoint. What Ms. Bixby is, is one of a kind.
Topher, Brand, and Steve know this better than anyone. And so when Ms. Bixby unexpectedly announces that she won’t be able to finish the school year, they come up with a risky plan—more of a quest, really—to give Ms. Bixby the last day she deserves. Through the three very different stories they tell, we begin to understand what Ms. Bixby means to each of them—and what the three of them mean to each other.
John David Anderson is the author of many books for young readers, including Sidekicked and The
Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org.
MS BIXBYS LAST DAY BLOG TOUR
6/2/2016 Nerdy Book Club
6/3/2016 Next Best Book
6/6/2016 Walden Media Tumblr
6/7/2016 Teach Mentor Texts
6/8/2016 This Kid Reviews Books
6/9/2016 Read, Write, Reflect
6/10/2016 Flashlight Reader
6/13/2016 Julie Falatko
6/14/2016 A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
6/15/2016 About to Mock
6/16/2016 Kid Lit Frenzy
6/16/2016 The Hiding Spot
6/17/2016 Unleashing Readers
(I received an advance copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.)