Lessons Learned From Great Educators!

flickr.com @N00/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

While completing my masters, I ran across research noting that teachers’ instructional styles are influenced by the way they were taught. My favorite teachers definitely helped mold me into the teacher I am today. However, I was also heavily influenced by watching what I call “ineffective” teachers. These were teachers who would call students stupid and tell them they would amount to nothing. However, this post is about recognizing two great educators in my life and what I learned from them!

Mrs. Lopez My kindergarten teacher showed me how much showing you care really helps students look forward to going to school. I love technology, but have learned that caring about my students has made the real difference! When my young English language learners begin to misbehave I have found saying you care about them after telling them what they did wrong goes a long way. When I taught some really difficult teenage boys, I would let them calm down then we would talk. The first thing I would do is say, “What is going on? You know I care about you.” We would talk then get back to learning. I remember to tell all my students I care about them.

Professor Salinas– My Visual Rhetoric professor helped me to teach outside the box. His homework entailed evaluating episodes of The Simpsons for subliminal messages! This was one of my favorite assignments that reminded me learning can be effective and fun. I really enjoyed the textbook and still use it today. He also let us work on projects on our own and did more facilitation than teaching. I created some of my favorite work in his class.

I was fortunate to be blessed with a plethora of amazing educators and am thankful for them all! In the spirit of the holidays, I would like to continue this spirit of recognizing amazing educators who have made a difference in your life and what they taught you! Therefore, I am doing a post tagging and a challenge. I hope you will join me in this challenge. The goal is to tag a few bloggers who you think would post about their favorite educators and the lessons they learned. Please leave the link here so we can read them as well!

I am tagging you, Arjana Blazic, Monika Hardy, Tamas Lorincz, Mary Beth Hertz, and Aniya Adly.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to check out this post:

For each of you, remember you are an amazing educator making a difference in several students’ lives everyday! Let no one make you feel that what you do is any less than one of the most significant jobs in the world! I dedicate this poem to you, What Teachers Make, by Taylor Mali.


Tag! You’re it! Go appreciate the educators who influenced you in your blog!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations


  1. What a great challenge, Shelly. We all are certainly the sum of everyone who has influenced us, for good or bad, aren’t we?

    Your post brought to mind one of my favorite professors in my MA program–an honest-to-goodness Italian contessa. She grew up with 3 languages in the northern part of her country, and just continued to add them. By the time I took her second langauge acquisition class, she spoke 7 languages fluently (two of them being Navajo and Hopi). Believe me, when she talked about acquiring languages, we all listened 🙂

    I look forward to reading posts from the teachers you’ve tagged!

  2. Barbara,

    That is an inspirational educator. Learning languages is difficult and to complete the process for less know languages is amazing in itself. Do you know if she spoke to the Navajo and Hopi? I’m tagging you know on this teacher because I’m really interested in how she used these languages!



    “Oh, the Lessons I’ve Learned!”
    (With apologies to Dr. Seuss for his classic: “Oh, the Places I’ll Go!”)
    I’ve learned lots of things on my way to retired, That I never thought then would leave me inspired.
    One lesson I’ve learned is when it comes to the Group, We’re somehow all different, like veggies in soup.
    But when you mix us all up and sum up our best, Why, together we’re better than any one of the rest!
    Some folks you might pass seem too busy to say, “Hi!” But if you asked for their help, they’d never pass by.
    And some folks with a burden too heavy to bear, Still find time for others, and step in and share.
    So, I’m thankful for alikes and differences too, For together, there’s nothing our “togethers” can’t do.
    I’ve even had students teach me new ways to divide. That are often far better than ways I have tried.
    I remember a student who couldn’t square root a “darn-ful”, But given a math puzzle, he could do a whole barn-full.
    As I look back on teaching, there’s no better career, ‘Cause you’re taught lots by others, year after year.
    And, after 33 years, I’ve learned as much as I could. So, given time to learn more, I’d move on, yes I would!
    I’ll always remember my wonderful co-workers, Learning from you has been one of those marvelous “perkers”.
    You help change kid’s lives, and deserve abundant high praise, So, in closing I’ll just say, why you all get all “A”s.
    Oh, the things that I‘ve learned, but there’s more to be found, So, I’m off to learn more, for at last I’m unbound!
    “Thanks for the Memories!”

  4. Excellent post Shelly! I think my biggest influencer was my science teacher Mr. Kennedy. He was a big burly man who laughed a lot kind of like Santa Claus. He had a true passion for biology. Whenever he showed us a video or did an experiment, he was tremendously excited about it. He was the leader of a school trip we took out west for 4 weeks to see the national parks (Yellowstone, Badlands, Glacier, Olympic…) And he loved telling stories. He definitely inspired me.

    • Neal,

      Thanks for sharing. I can definitely see how Mr. Kennedy influenced you when I recall the Twitter story you started. I also remember you hiking with your students which as a brilliant idea. I think great teachers really inspire us and do have a positive influence and our students benefit from this.

  5. Wonderful post, Shelly! Modeling is one of my research interests. I’m convinced that it is one of our most potent tools. Can you reference the research you ran across? I’m always interested in adding more to my library. Thanks!

  6. Count me in on tags (good to know that’s what they’re called!) My best lesson was probably an art class where we got to make huge scarecrows. This was at a very academic school where pretty much everything was geared to passing tests. I adored any teacher who broke the mold, and Mr. Kirch’s task was so far out and inspiring that our scarecrows, with all the tools and materials I learned to work with, sticks out in my mind as the single most productive lesson I ever had.
    But I frankly learned a lot more outside school than in school.

  7. Hey Shelley,
    Thanks for sharing. Reflecting on things such as who influenced us is a good way of reminding ourselves that we are not alone. I LOVE that video too.

  8. One of my favorite high school teachers was Mr. Canning in Mt. Lebanon, PA. This was guy who reminded apathetic, “too cool for school” high school kids that learning could actually be enjoyable, and that the events of the past not only were of interest, but that history actually shaped us. His Socratic teaching style was a big departure from what his peers would subject us to on a daily basis!

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