Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Three Teachers

March is Women's History Month, and I've been thinking about the women in my history who have made a huge impact on my life. While there have been a number of influential, outstanding women, three teachers come immediately to mind.

Of course, there's my mom, Ruth Cassells, affectionately known as Ms. Ruthie. She was my first teacher and an outstanding example of strong womanhood. I'm sure that without her patience and wisdom, added to the pure giving of her time,  I wouldn't be anywhere near the woman I am today.

Sophia Holley was my 10th grade biology teacher at Detroit's High School of Commerce back in the late 1950s. She was the first black woman I knew who had traveled and studied in Europe, and she could speak German!  Ms. Holley extended her friendship to me and became a mentor. She saw to it that I became enrolled in a summer science project, which exposed me to an excellent opportunity for special studies and inclusion in an elite group of fifty promising high school students. What a boost to my self confidence. 

Sophia also taught me an important lesson about using a thesaurus when she reviewed my college application. I had used ostentatious $10 words found in the thesaurus when the one-dollar variety were best for the ideas I wanted to convey. From then on, when writing, I made sure to check the dictionary along with the thesaurus.

Debbie O. Hancock served as Dean of the School of Education at California State University, Bakersfield in the 1980s. I was lucky enough to be enrolled in the one reading class that she taught each quarter. It was Debbie who expanded my knowledge of reading and teaching with her consummate skills. She encouraged me to apply to the annual California Reading Association conference for my first professional speaking engagement. Since that first time, many workshops, seminars, and speaking opportunities have followed. 

And, after I earned my masters in reading, Debbie recommended me for an adjunct instructor position at CSUB, teaching the content area reading class for single-subject credential students. It was gratifying to show these prospective teachers how to include reading instruction in their lessons so their students could more readily absorb the subject matter.

All of these women are part of my history, sculpting and altering and improving my life. It's my honor and privilege to know them. Who are the influential women who've helped shape your life? Let's acknowledge them this year during Women's History Month.
~ xoA ~


  1. Great post! I often think about those teachers who had an impact. It was so nice to ready about those who influenced and supported you!

  2. Oh yes, my most influential teacher was Mr. Bredimier, who taught math at Hermiston H.S. He taught me to love algebra and all that numbers can do. To this day I'll work math problems just for the enjoyment of it.

  3. Thanks, Kate and Golfer 29. Sounds like we've all been lucky to have great women and teachers touch our lives. xoA

  4. One of my favorite school teachers was Karyn Lackman who taught Shakespeare to a bunch of squirrely high school sophomores. But we weren't squirrely in her class. She treated us all as equals and was truly interested in what we had to say. We all loved her so much that, when we were seniors, we elected her to be the teacher who gave us our diplomas at graduation.

    Probably my best life teacher is my late partner, Ruth,who taught me so many things I can't list them here. Among them, though, is that life is short and every moment with a loved one is truly precious, humor can get you through anything, and it's never too late to change yourself to be happier and more at peace with life.

  5. Knowing Ruth, I can see her living these lessons. Thanks for sharing your stories, Bobbi. xoA