October 19th, 2010
11:04 AM ET

iReport daily challenge: #BeAHero for teachers

Editor's Note: Learn about the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 and vote for the CNN Hero of the Year at CNNHeroes.com.

America’s public schools are failing. That’s the provocative premise of two new education documentaries “Waiting for Superman” and “The Lottery.” The films, which follow families who are frustrated with the public schools in their neighborhoods, have sparked a debate about what education solutions are needed.

One of the chief complaints in the discussion is that the films ignore the good work that’s happening in public schools.

You can help.

Here's your “Be a Hero” call to action for the day: Give a public shout out to a public school teacher who made a difference in your life. It could be your child’s teacher, or an instructor you had as a child.

By 3 p.m. EST today post your response in the comments here, tweet your praise with the hashtag #BeAHero or send us an iReport about that special teacher. Which teacher did you choose? How did that person inspire, motivate or change you?

Check back here in the evening, when we will post a roundup of the most standout daily heroics.

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  1. Eilidh Lowery

    Lisa Modee is a great teacher. She has come back to Kindergarten this year after many years teaching 4th grade. She has great enthusiasm for the material, pays attention to the needs of her students, and brings fun to the classroom. She teaches at Veneta Elementary in Oregon and I know my child will thrive in her classroom. Her activities for open house helped the parents really understand the school routine for their children. Her letters home and the way she explains the materials set parents up for success in helping their child succeed in school. We are lucky to have Mrs. Modee as a public school teacher in America.

    October 19, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Mary L

    We all had powerful teachers growing up and they were all powerful to us in different ways. Mrs. McCollum made me decide to be a teacher with her gentle ways and her overenthusiastic praise. Now I am charged today to be powerful in someone else's life. I know first hand that it takes my students 4-8 years to realize that I wasn't just hard on them or strict with expectations because I wanted to be but because that was what they needed at the time. I can wait as they come to that knowledge in their own time, they do eventually, and then they come back to celebrate with me. I learned how to give students the push that they needed from Mr. Stalter. He is still in the business of teaching, doing the same great work he was when I was younger. People need to stop and realize that great work is going on out there in schools but for some students family situations and bagage that they bring to school everyday can derail all of the positive things that are happening. Families need to show support and follow through with school expectations because schools can not raise your children. You must raise your children with expectations.

    October 19, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Cathy D

    Chantel Chiu is a great teacher at Garland Texas Non-Traditional High School. Her purpose is to teach kids who for some reason or another have quit High School and never finished and have now decided they have to have that diploma. She is a wonderful Math and Science teacher with the goal of helping these kids so they can have a better life after graduating.

    October 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Melissa G

    All of my daughters teachers at Davis Elementary in Cheyenne Wy have been outstanding, by name they were : Lindsay Neuber and Lisa Esquibel – K, Kirsten Schultz – 1st, Connie Telander – 2nd!! These amazing women have encouraged my daughters to expand their worlds and to constantly seek answers when they have questions. My youngest currently has a wonderful 1st grade teacher in Lisa Will at Bain Elementary, she has been amazing at getting a struggling reader to seek out things to read at home and have fun doing it!

    I personally have the honor of working with an absolutely stellar staff at Baggs Elementary in Cheyenne. We work with a low income student base and these teachers do an outstanding job of getting the students motivated to learn and acheive great things in life. Knowing that someone cares can make all the difference in a kids life, especially when home is not the most welcoming place to be.

    Teachers are not always the problem, over testing is a major problem and we need meaningful reform to help our kids catch up in the global market!!!!

    October 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Andrew Baker

    Mr. John Wittenback of Bluegrass Middle School, Elizabethtown Ky
    Mr. Wittenback was the greatest teacher i have ever met he helped me grow and become a better person, i was sort of a trouble maker when i was younger i was always trying to start something but Mr. Wittenback never saw me as a problem child he saw instead what i could be if i put everything i had into being a student. He helped me see what was really important in the world and become the great soldier i am today. Mr. Wittenback deserves so many gold stars for the great work he does and will continue to do.

    October 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Tasha

    My father was a teacher for many, many years and touched so many lives. I regularly meet former students, parents and colleagues of his who remember him fondly for his hard work and dedication to teaching. He was, and still is, an amazing leader, mentor and friend to everyone he encounters. A giant gold star for Ivan Teelucksingh, Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School, Bethesda, MD. We should all be lucky enough to have a teacher like him!

    October 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Melissa

    Joyce Campenni, Dr. LouJean Beishline, Faith Halderman – Gold Stars of Bloomsburg Memorial Elm. School, Bloomsburg PA for their patience, love, support, and foresight into learning disabilities.

    October 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kaye Culp

    Kem Bennett from Vestavia Hills, AL was my daughter's teacher a couple of years ago. What a difference she made in my child's life! My daughter is currently 10 yrs old and diagnosed witth autism. My daughter is non-verbal and communicates with pictures. Kem believed that my daughter could learn to read. She worked with her for over a year before we saw signs that my daughter was beginning to understand. By the time my daughter left Mrs Bennett's classroom, she could read many words and would even type words to indicate things she needed or wanted. Most people look at my daughter on the outside and expect little from her. Mrs Bennett looked further and tried harder and found a child who was bright and capable of learning in spite of a significant disability. I will always remember her with great respect and fondness.

    October 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. J Johnson

    John Sala at Groves High School in Birmingham,Michigan. He inspired me to be the English teacher I am today in rural Ohio. He played Socrates to inspire us to think and write and gave me my abiding love for Shakespeare. Thank you!

    October 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. TCP

    Carolyn Canady! April McQuire! And their wonderful assistants, Mrs. Ditmore and Mr. Sherman! Fayetteville, NC...

    October 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. dd

    i have this one teacehr in NY longisland nho memorial, his anme is MR.sime, best teacher ever, he teaches amth but he gives the best real life advice, when your in hs class he feels like a father figure to you, this guy is amazing. HE dosn't care if you failed his class or not hell still rmember you. He is amazing at playing the guitar he played during class, this is a hioghschool algebra teacher. the funny thing is he dosnt have kids of his own, i guess thats why hes a teacher. He said he and his wife wernt as lucky as others. man i feel bad for him, but he was an awesome teacher

    October 19, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Logan

    Mr. Baxter, Galesburg High School, IL. I never officially had him as a teacher, but he spent countless hours helping with my physics homework when my regular teacher was gone. He had a way of always explaining things so I understood them. Baxter taught me how to be a better person by having consideration and compassion for others. He was a passionate and supportive man who helped me control my anxieties in high school by sharing his love of cycling. We went on many bike rides together and he taught me how to build a bike from the ground up. I want to give him a shout out for giving me a passion and helping me through high school. It has been 10 years since I graduated and I still stay in touch with him. Because of his influences, and those of teachers I did not list I am a high school art teacher at Geneseo High School, IL.

    October 19, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. D Asher

    Nell Moses of Winget Park and Sharon Poston of RiverGate Elementary (both in Charlotte, NC) get Gold Stars from me, for their praise and encouragement of all their students. My daugter loves school, and loves learning, and it is thanks to these two lovely ladies. Thank you for all you do!!!!

    October 19, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Danielle

    Steve Renander is hands down the best teacher I have ever had. He teaches math, and I have never learned more from anyone. I only had him for pre-cacl/trig and calculus but I learned Geometry and Algebra 2 from him as well. He is down to earth and knows how to connect with his students. He even taught us random little facts about the world. He is one teacher I will never forget!

    October 19, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. BN

    There are many wonderful teachers at Klein Collins High School in Spring Texas. But two very special teachers stand out. Mr. Stephen Britt who teaches Drafting club sponsor and Computer Technologies is one of the most down to earth, loves what he does and it shows teachers. He is encouraging and challenging, and his enthusiasm for what he does is contagious. My son excelled under this and Mr. Britt's influence led him to choose his major of Mechanical Engineering and MMET at A&M. The other is Ms. Amber Godwin, AP World History. Ms. Godwin has a love for history that comes alive to the kids in this class. She lets them know up front this will be challenging, and many students drop this class right away. My girls are learning so much from her, that hard work pays off, that it feels good to put in the extra time and you can take pride in the learning. Ms. Godwin is actually teaching and attending A&M to continue her own education. What a great example, of hard work and enjoying what you do!
    Its a privilege to have such great teachers in our children's lives!!!

    October 19, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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