The Teachers that Time Forgot

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Hazel Haley
Hazel Haley taught for 69 years: photo credit

While calling teachers Rotten Apples in its November 3, 2014 issue, Time Magazine vilified some of the world’s most honorable people. Worse than this unmitigated attack on educators is that the Time issue highlights a millionaire who spends his time suing schools, while removing the spotlight from all the excellent teachers in the world.

It is impossible to feature all of the great teachers that Time forgot in one blog post, so Brilliant or Insane asked educators on our social networks to share their thoughts and stories about teachers who exemplify the excellence that has so far eluded Time Magazine.

Some of the teachers that time forgot

Megan Silberberger

When a student began shooting in Marysville-Pilchuck High School cafeteria in Washington state, panic ensued. Moments later, teacher Megan Silberberger approached the gunman and helped disarm him, according to CNN. Silberberger, a first-year social studies teacher wrestled with the 14-year-old shooter, who had already killed one student and wounded three others. A teacher risked her own life to save others. Is this one of Time Magazine’s “rotten apples?” Or is Silberberger, who wanted no part of being branded a hero, declining to be interviewed by the media, a teacher that Time forgot?

Hazel Haley

Hazel Haley epitomizes a teacher who maximized her time on Earth; in fact, she dedicated almost all of it to education. Haley taught high school English in Florida for 69 years. She said that children haven’t changed; their world has. For someone who taught more than 13,000 students and three generations, Hazel Haley may be a teacher that Time Magazine forgot but one that dedicated educators will honor forever. Haley died in 2008; fortunately, she didn’t see Time Magazine’s egregious attack on teachers.

Laura Briggs

Katie Denny Neville has served the education community for 42 years and could be featured in this post. Like most educators, Neville prefers to shine the light elsewhere, identifying Laura Briggs as a teacher that Time forgot.

Not only is she great at helping teachers integrate technology into the curriculum, but she motivates everyone to learn more. For me it was Second Life, Minecraft, 3D Printing and Robots. She taught me how to use a Twitter Chat and how to leverage mobile devices and has been instrumental in local, state, and national technology organizations. Teaching can be a thankless job and there are discouraging days, but Laura always managed to inspire me to keep learning and sharing with teachers and students. Time should have focused on the teachers who are working hard and making a difference.Katie Denny Neville, on Laura Briggs

Leigh Ann Ferguson

Another teacher who suffered through an unspeakable school shooting tragedy, Ferguson is a longtime veteran elementary teacher in Chardon, Ohio.

She gives up so much of her own time to do things with her students and make her classroom the best it can be. She is also a wonderful role model both in and out of the classroom. Mrs. Ferguson encourages students to be kind and considerate, and to help out in the community. I am so grateful to her for all that she has done for my own children and all of her students. She makes learning so much fun.Erica Harris Holl, on Leigh Ann Ferguson

Christa McAuliffe

Charged with teaching the the children of the world about the new frontier, history teacher Christa McAuliffe was the first American civilian selected to participate in a space mission in 1985. In January, 1986, in a tragedy well documented in history, the Challenger space shuttle exploded shortly after liftoff, killing McAuliffe and all astronauts on board. McAuliffe was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, after her death. Nearly 30 years after the Challenger disaster, Christa McAuliffe continues to exemplify the character and fortitude of the teacher–someone willing to face incredible risks in order to improve the future of our children.

It would be easy to list thousands of similar anecdotes about remarkable individuals who make so many people proud to say, “I’m a teacher.”

Please share your own story about a terrific teacher that Time forgot in our comment section.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books and other series that provide right-now solutions for teachers and learners. Mark is the author or publisher of dozens of books, including Bestseller Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 150,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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