I ask you, “Who was the teacher that inspired you to become a teacher?”
When I do demonstration lessons in elementary classrooms, I often begin by telling the students a “Mr. Borilla story.” Michael Borilla was my fourth and fifth grade teacher at Bullard Elementary in Fresno, California. He was the first male teacher I had ever had, and he was also the first teacher whose classroom control methods scared me more than just a little. When he yelled, he yelled loudly and he got in your face. To this day, I believe Mr. Borilla’s shouting voice could have cut glass.
More importantly, he was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. He did things for me that no teacher had ever done, and that no teacher has been able to do since. I became a teacher because of Mr. Borilla.
Using the Internet, I have searched for Mr. Borilla many times, but to no avail. I am unsure what ever became of him, just as I am sure he is unaware what became of me. If you know where he is, tell him to contact me. I’d like to know what he thinks of the stories I have told and written about him, and I’d like him to know that he inspired me to become a teacher who valued writing above everything else.
Having told my stories about him countless times to both teachers and students, I have become aware that every one of us has a story about that teacher who changed us, who affected our lives and probably doesn’t even know it. I have set up this page off my own website to encourage my fellow teachers to write down and share memories of important teachers from their own pasts.
Need to see an example? By visiting my webpage devoted to Mr. Borilla, you will be able to read some of the stories I have written about my most influential teacher. I have told and re-told these stories so often over the years that I can no longer be sure which parts of the stories are completely true, and which parts I have exaggerated in my attempts to be a better story-teller. True or slightly-fabricated, these stories do what they’re supposed to do: they encourage the children I work with to want to become story-tellers too. When I tell students my stories about him, I know Mr. Borilla is still having a positive effect on students.
I have established this blog as a place for other teachers to 1) celebrate the teacher(s) who inspired them to teach and to 2) practice those skills of story-telling by penning and sharing original writing about those teachers. Please take some time, write something about an influential teacher, and post it here. Let’s form a on-line community that celebrate teachers to show that we value education.
–Corbett Harrison (http://corbettharrison.com)