What’s one lesson a teacher taught you that matters today?

A St. Paul Public Schools educator is Minnesota’s 2013 Teacher of the Year.

Megan Hall teaches high school biology and life sciences at Open World Learning Community in downtown St. Paul, and said Sunday that the achievement gap in education is the biggest issue facing her field.

Today’s Question: What’s one lesson a teacher taught you that matters today?

  • ANDi

    Be quick, but don’t hurry.

  • Bruce

    Put your hand on your heart and say “what is here is elsewhere, what is not here is nowhere else”.

  • scott4

    One day at a time, don’t live in the past and always look forward.

  • David

    Just do your best, learn a lot and have fun.

  • Gary F

    I was told in 1981 in 10th grade business class that the Dow would never go above 1400 in my lifetime. I invested in TDK, they were going to be big because they were making something called “video tape” for VCR’s, every home was going to have one. I rocked.

    And I was told that computers will make us a paper free society and so efficient that we would only need to work 3-4 days a week.

    So, that’s what I learned in high school.

  • Sarah

    My favorite teacher in high school frequently quoted Mark Twain, in short: never let school interfere with your education. The day before our final he said, “Today it might be more important for you to watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ than study for the final, do what you NEED today.”

  • Charlie Rogo

    I was lucky enough to have an English teacher for 7th Grade that followed me all through High School. He taught all of us to love learning and to continue to learn and improve for life. His enthusiasm and example has stuck with me. I am now pushing sixty and still think of his example that he continues to show today. He still works as a substitute and as a referee in sports. His name is John Leiser and he taught at Saint Cloud Apollo High School.

  • Aja Wolfe

    while working on quiz in high school…

    Classmate: Mrs. Teacher, so-and-so is cheating.
    Teacher: How are they cheating?
    Classmate: They’re looking up the answer.
    Teacher: If they knew where to look, how is that cheating?

    This is the single most important thing I learned in high school- being resourceful is never a bad thing! In the real world no one will fault you for not knowing something as long as you know where to look.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Assuming about 175 days of school per year for twelve years, and about six hours of school per day, and about one lesson per hour, that would be about 12,600 lessons. That’s before college and the other schooling I’ve had. I don’t remember most of those lessons specifically, but every one shaped who I am, and in that sense they all matter today. If you’re asking for a single pithy platitude, I try not to live my life by any one in particular, because that would lead to narrow-mindedness. So, maybe the most important lesson I learned from all of my teachers collectively is to avoid narrow-mindedness.

  • Ann M

    My minister is a great Bible teacher and the things I am learning about the Word surpass everything I have learned in the past. Also, my parents set a good example by being frugal. Since I don’t have a job, that is one of the most useful lessons I have learned.

    • Ann M

      I have to add that most of my teachers were not great teachers. I studied and practiced because I wanted to learn.The bad teachers who just gave you a magazine to read and didn’t even try to teach had the greatest effect because they discouraged one from learning.So I learned much more in a poor school that didn’t have tenured union teachers.

      • Jim G

        Your experience, if true, is sad. All of the teachers I mentioned today were teachers first but also members of unions. There is no cause and effect relationship as you seem to imply between union membership and the disinterested “baby sitting” you describe. I’ve found unions to be tools to enable individuals who are powerless by themselves to effect fair work rule changes. Workers form unions because they are badly served, underpaid, abused, or exploited by management. If teachers/workers were treated fairly and generously there would be no reason to form them.

  • Jim G

    The best and most dedicated people I know are teachers. I learned more than one lesson from my many teachers and it
    would be unfair to choose just one, so here are a few lessons that I still remember today many years after these lessons were first learned. I learned to love orchestral music from Mr. Chlebecek and organ from Mr. Bohm. I learned how to write a coherent paragraph from my 10th grade English teacher, Mr. Anderson. I’m still trying to “keep it up.” I learned how to “hit them harder than they hit you” from my football coach Mr. Roy. I learned that the Holocaust is always with us from Mr. Gerard, but that Germans are people too from Mr. Russell, my German language teacher. That math does add up to a successful life from Algebra teacher, Mrs. Maw. I learned that we are all a part of the web of life on Mother Earth. That we are poisoning and despoiling our web and that we are in the middle of the 6th great extinction…caused by us from college professor, Mr. Putz. One more lesson I’m still learning is that the universe is a mystery worth exploring from the late Professor of Astronomy, Karlis Kaufmanis, University of Minnesota.

  • Lance

    Lessons that still repeat in my head while driving – 30 years later:

    - Aim High in Steering

    - Get the Big Picture

    - Leave Yourself an Out

    thanks Mr. Cooper!!

  • Sue de Nim

    Focus on the road, not the bumps in it.

  • Chad

    “If you listen long enough, you’ll hear everything you need to know.” -3rd grade teacher

  • Wally

    How revealing that this teacher spouts the same edupap about the “achievement gap” that all the educrats do, to try and suck more money out of the taxpayers.

    She knows who butters her bread.

    Oh yeah: I learned a love of words from a senior English teacher. Who wasn’t an educrat.

  • shyestviolet

    From the U’s fantastic Donna McAlpine, a true teacher and mentor: “Not everyone gets a trophy for participating.” You have to put in your time and effort to make it in today’s job market. It’s something my generation needs to hear a bit more, as we were raised in an environment of “everyone wins.” We’re not entitled to a successful career (in whatever form “success” takes for you)–we have to earn it.

  • Al

    From JoAnn Michna and Mary Grau-Stumpf, respectively, both of Hill-Murray School:

    There is no excuse for shoddy work, and be compassionate in everything you do.