Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Favorite High School Teachers, Part 1

I meant to post this on Ada Lovelace Day, which I learned about from a colleague who sent me to Finding Ada. I pledged to blog about a woman I admire in the fields of technology or science. Because I am incredibly lame and this Spring got away from me, this post is months late.

Mrs. Rowe was my Algebra II/Trig teacher. My mom was a math teacher, but it was Mrs. Rowe who turned me into some semblance of a mathematician. I still vividly remember the first day of trig when she drew the unit circle on the board. I used that same basic lecture when I taught the course years later. Mrs. Brown (Algebra 1) saved me from mathematical oblivion. Mr. Berry (Geometry and Computer Science) helped me see that learning and teaching math could be fun, but Mrs. Rowe drove it home. She batted cleanup and hit a triple. After her, Mrs. Penkunas (pre-calc and calc) had the easier job of tightening everything up. She did hard work, but all of it would have been for naught if it weren't for the sweet woman with the southern drawl who was affectionately known as "The Crusher."

Of all the courses I ever took (at any level and in any discipline), the one from which I remember the highest percentage is AP Biology. Mrs. Breznick (now Casio) taught me that course and it is thanks to her that I remember such things as rough endoplasmic reticulum (it's the ribosomes that make it rough) and the difference between xylem and phloem. It's really ridiculous. Why is it that I can still remember the cellular respiration handout she gave us that describes how we get ATP from glycolysis and the Krebs cycle? Why do I still remember the roles of FSH and LH? All credit goes to Mrs. Casio.

A heartfelt thanks to all my high school math and science teachers for training me up and (more importantly) for fostering my love of learning and sharing. I was really, really lucky to have you all as teachers.

This was supposed to be just about women in the fields of science and math, but then again, this was supposed to come out months ago. Still, I'll stop here and post tomorrow about the non-math/science teachers (both men) who influenced me the most.

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