Are awesome. No, seriously. Well, most of them at least.
I've talked about it a little in previous posts, I think, but one of my goals is to become a teacher. I'm currently pursuing a double major in mathematics and computer science. If I follow the mathematics degree all the way through, I'm aiming to get a job teaching math at either a community college or a university.
Why do I want to be a teacher? There are many reasons. One of them is the teachers that I have had. Some of my teachers are the most awesome people I've ever met. I've had my share of bad apples, but I'm going to be talking about a few of my favorites here.
Kim Perlak. She's my guitar teacher. I've been taking lessons from her since my junior year of high school. She has her doctorate at UT Austin, and really knows her stuff. She's always encouraging, and has gotten me several gig opportunities, and other chances to play. She always has a funny story, and my lessons are often the brightest point of my week.
Edgar Fisher. I had him for Calculus II. There's a post down there somewhere about hair, it's mostly about him. He walked in to class the first day and said, "I don't suffer from ADHD. I enjoy every minute of it!" He's always very energetic, teaches well, and his class is the easiest class to take notes for that I've ever had. He's also got an awesome sense of humor. The other day, I asked him, "Do you know when the math competition is this semester?". He replied, "Yes," and kept walking. 20 feet later, he stopped, looked back, and asked, "Oh, you wanted to know when it was?" Also, the last question on his final exam was about the zombie apocalypse.
Marcus McGuff. He's my current Calculus III professor, and I'm signed up to take both Differential Equations and Calculus IV next semester with him. His class is the first math class that has really challenged me. And he's one of the smartest guys I've ever met. He's incredibly passionate about math, and being lazy - often at the same time. Many people don't like him because they see him as a hard teacher. I have learned more in the first 8 weeks of this semester than I have from 8 weeks of any other math class, and I'm sure that by the end of this semester, I'll have learned more than in any other math class. Until the spring. He's also very willing to answer questions in his office hours, and, if he sees that you're interested, will explain things way beyond what the course covers.
Jennifer Corte. I had her for College Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus I. She also gets bad reviews as a hard teacher. I think it's because she's very precise. And it's important. She wants you to use the proper notation, to do things correctly, and she will count off if you don't. Many people blow this off, but I've found this preparation with her to be very helpful for my higher classes, because if you don't understand the proper notation, you'll quickly get lost in the math. She also projects a very professional attitude during class, which leads many students to think she has no personality. They simply haven't met her! She is very available during her office hours, and she wants to help you. She is a nice person, and she wants you to succeed, so if you're having problems, go talk to her. She also teaches very very clearly, and if you make sure you understand what she's saying in class and ask any questions you have, you will understand your topic very thoroughly.
I've had many other good teachers. But these have been some of the best. They are my inspiration, and a large part of the reason that I, too, want to be a teacher.