Thursday, July 29, 2010

Someone Special, by Barbara Sparks

It is really hard to think of just one person who has inspired me. I have met many special people in my life. Teachers, however, have had the most lasting influence on my life. They are why I chose to become a teacher.

English teachers introduced me to literature that broadened my concept of the world. My world before meeting them was limited to my home, school, city, and country. My eighth grade teacher introduced me to Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and The Diary of Anne Frank. For the first time I discovered prejudice and hatred existed all over the world and throughout history.

My 10th grade teacher continued my love of Shakespeare and drama by having my class read Macbeth. We read sections orally and she also read to us. As she read I felt that I was there listening and observing the characters in the play. She took us on a journey to England, where Shakespeare’s works were first performed, by showing us slides from her trip there. I dreamed of going to England and because of her I travelled to Stratford-upon-Avon where I attended a production of Hamlet.

My twelfth grade English teacher introduced me to the Greek Tragedy Medea. She took me to see a performance of Medea. This was the first time I had ever gone to a live performance. My love for live performances was ignited. This love continues today. My favorite pastime is attending plays and musicals.

Teachers made history and politics exciting. We discussed newspaper articles in class. I realized that the world was right there at my fingertips. All I had to do was open the newspaper and read.

My teachers believed in me and my ability to succeed. I was chosen to go to a leadership camp where I met people of many cultures and religions. No longer was I reading about different cultures and religions, I was learning first hand about the beauty of our diverse population.

There was one event that changed my life completely and I am so grateful to Dr. Liljekvist. He took me to various colleges. He showed me his thesis and dissertation in the library on one university campus. He said that one day I could have my thesis or dissertation there. I later did attend graduate school on the same campus. He planted the seed. Without him, I would never have dreamed of attending that university. I became the first member of my family to graduate from college. Many of my younger cousins followed me and now there are many college graduates in my family.

These are just a few of the examples of how teachers impacted my life. Their belief in me and the eye opening experiences they presented led me to places I never dreamed I would go, to pursue experiences I never dreamed I’d have and gave me the skills I needed to succeed and interact in a world that was beyond the limited world in which I was raised.


  1. Dear Barbara, Wow. You have been blessed with the best people, and just as importantly you recognized that and gave your best to all who are lucky enough to have you in their livies.
    You "Played it forward."

  2. I finally found your blog and I really was inspired by the depth of your life influences. I enjoyed reading it and I'm looking foward to reading more of your writings.-Ms. Layne

  3. Barbara you had wonderful experiences and lasting memories from teachers who cared. I'm positive you became the same kind of caring teacher.

  4. Hi Barbara, I had a few special teachers like you did. I think you are just a special person because of who you are. I'm blessed to know you. Annette

  5. Barbara,
    My special teacher was Mr. Cichecki. I had him in the 6th grade and again in the 10th. When ever I think back to my childhood, and how important the influence of a teacher can be, I think of him. I hope that you and all the other teachers that have made a difference in a childs life, know how very important your influence is. I thank you for the work you did.

  6. Bravo Barbara for setting the example and lighting the way for your younger family members to graduate from college. I'm sure the influence of your wonderful teachers were instrumental in your success as a teacher and and that now many of your students are passing the torch to the next generation.
    Your story was inspiring and beautifully written. We are so lucky to have you in our writing group.