My favorite junior high teacher was my 7th and 8th grade science teacher, Mr. Robert Crosland of Preston Jr. High in Preston, Idaho. He believed that 7th and 8th grade students were capable of doing and learning much more that was being offered them currently. He pushed us all. Some parents thought it was too much, but those were the parents who didn't understand. As long as Mr. Crosland could see that the student had put forth their best efforts he rewarded them richly with written praise of what you did well and an outstanding grade. If he could tell that you just didn't care to try or that your parents did it for you, you were given a less than impressive grade. He always offered chances to redeem yourself and it was not hard to maintain an A+ if you continued to try, but those who did work for it, learned more that I have learned in some of my entry level college courses. Mr. Crosland still teaches at Preston Jr. High and is still under scrutiny from parents who think his course material is too hard, but he truly does know what his students are capable of and pushes them to achieve that instead of letting them glide by with mediocrity.
My favorite high school teacher was Mr. Daniel Baird of Preston High, in Preston, ID. He taught math. I started with him in 9th grade geometry where he sat the desks in pairs so everyone had a math buddy and you could learn from each other. He quickly noticed my talents in math and learning in general and I was often paired with the older students who had failed geometry in past years. This was the beginning of my training in a math teacher and tutor. Mr. Baird was my mentor throughout the rest of high school years. He taught me Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, & Trig during an optional summer school program that went much better than anyone had imagined; helped me through being the first sophomore to take Calculus in my school ever; taught me Statistics; helped me study for and pass the Calculus BC AP Test; and coached 3 of the academic teams I participated with. He continually pushed me to be just a little better, even when I started pushing back my senior year in a form of rebellion. He helped me achieve what no other student had yet achieved at that high school. I was later privileged to work with him again, when he started working at the college I was attending. He was taking over the math-tutoring lab that I had worked in for the past 2 years. I got to show him the ropes and he was willing to learn from me and the other experienced tutors while he continued to push us to greatness.
My favorite teachers have always taught me be my best, to push myself instead of just floating.