I'm indebted to many great teachers I had over the years, but one I'm particularly grateful for is Dr. Hoffman. I had Dr. Hoffman 21 years ago, during my senior year of high school for both AP Psychology and Economics. Perhaps that's why Psychology and Economics were the two main classes I taught for eight years once I became a teacher.
Dr. Hoffman brought energy and enthusiasm to every class he taught. Every single day. With so many people just going through the motions each day, it's notable and a great thing for a teenager to see, "Oh, this is what it looks like to work hard and excel at your job!"
He also brought encouragement. I remember him pulling me aside after class one day saying, "You're doing a great job and I think if you keep working hard you will not only pass the AP test but you can get a five." Those little comments stick with students. I wasn't a great student in high school and the only other AP test I had taken I scored a one on. I can't tell you how motivating that simple encouragement was to me. He believed in me and had high expectations. I did go on to earn a five on that test.
Finally, he was generous. Ten years after taking his class I found myself tasked with starting up the Psychology course at the high school where I taught. Naturally, I emailed Dr. Hoffman to let him know. I hadn't been in touch with him for those ten years but he couldn't have been more generous with his time. He spent an entire day of his summer helping me plan my course. He even gave me eight boxes full of Psychology materials that he'd been using for 15 years to borrow for the summer. It was incredibly helpful. All I did was ask.
Thank you Dr. Hoffman for your energy and passion, for your encouragement and for your generosity. The world needs more teachers like you.