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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Filed under: #BeaHero
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Larry Winton

    Danese Wilhelm is a great teacher. She is wonderful with children, getting them excited about reading and learning. She reaches out to parents as partners in the teaching process, and they learn to be better parents. Danni guides other teachers in getting the skills and techniques they need to be more effective as child educators. She also volunteers time to the school and PTA – case in point, she led the drive to raise money for and install $25,000 worth of playground equipment. Danni does it all, does it well, and inspires everyone she touches.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • dsashin

      Thanks, Larry! Where and what does Danni teach?

      October 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. William_Atlanta

    I want to say Mrs. Tracy Hammer at Laural Ridge Elementary School, in Decatur GA deserves a gold star. She teaches the second grade and her wonderful work with my son, makes everyday an enjoyable learning experience. Her continued drive to improve student knowledge and not just "test scores" shows up both on his report card, but more importunately in his desire to learn. He comes home everyday asking sharp questions about various topics. His increased approach to reading books all the time instead of just watching TV and playing video games all come from the importance we place on him and that she reiterates daily with her students. It is teachers like her that will fix the education system in America, and not movies that are only concerned with private education.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Toni Reynolds

    Nikki Kalsu, my daughter's pre-k teacher is an AMAZING woman! She makes learning fun for the children and when my daughter comes home she is on top of the world. Everywhere she goes, she has to tell people about "Miss Nikki".

    October 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toni Reynolds

      woops, forgot to add that we are Midwest City, Oklahoma.

      October 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MikeS

    Great comments!

    October 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Melissa

    Rebecca Kay is a fantastic teacher. She teaches in a small Alaskan village. She is tough, but she cares about each individual student. She appreciates them for who they are, and builds upon the talents they all possess.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Darrell P. Jameson

    I want to give a shout out to a group of teachers that inspired me to be the person I am today:
    Judy Edwards – my first and third grade teacher for makeing me love school.
    Jerome Hudson – my 8th grade social studies teacher, who made me fall in love with history.
    Corrine Williams – my 11th grade US History teacher, who taught me that history was cool and people needed to know about it.
    Patricia Snider – my 12th grade Teacher Cadet teacher, who inspried me to become a teacher in my own right.
    I always had great public school teachers in Easley, South Carolina. I felt well prepared to attend college, and today I am pursuing my doctoral degree in organizational leadership. Great teachers do not just teach, they inspire students to greatness. Public school has not failed, society has failed public school.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      "Public school has not failed, society has failed public school." Amen to that. Corrupt political systems need failing public schools to use as a reason to enrich corporations through privatization. The sad part is that the ones who really suffer are the students at those schools who are being used as pawns in this system.

      October 19, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Karen Hanson

    My daughter's 4th grade teacher was wonderful. Mr. Gabe Moya made learning fun for the kids in his class and my daughter could not wait to come home and tell me about the great things they had done in class! He was tough yet caring and to this day, he is friendly and warm when he sees my daughter out in our community. He still shows interest in the activities she and other students pursue and my daughter is a 7th grader now. Thank God for teachers like Mr. Moya!!!!

    October 19, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • dsashin

      Thanks Karen! Where does Mr. Moya teach? (school and city)

      October 19, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. D

    I would like to nominate the teacher my son had when he was in third grade. There are so many things I could say about him, but I think the best way to describe Tim Vessels of Muldraugh Elementary School, Muldraugh Kentucky, is this: For most teachers, teaching is a job. Some do it extremely well, some don't. For Mr. Vessels, a teacher is what he IS, not what he DOES. Every moment is a teachable moment. My son blossomed in his class, and is so lucky that he is still his cross country coach.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nikol Purvis

    Mrs. Gaurneau, who taught at Kalamazoo Central High school, was my 10th grade drama teacher. She is my "Giant." K-Cs mascot is the Giant, and we were taught to "be a Giant" to all those around us. This could mean something as simple as a hug, a smile or just a friendly person who listened. No matter what it was, you were taught that by being a Giant you will set an example for future Giants. Mrs. Garneau is my Giant. She did not know it then, however, I was going through a very abusive time in my life. Her classroom instruction helped me get through the really rough times by escaping the horrid abuse I was enduring. Mrs. Garneau has the friendliest demeanor, warmest smile and largest heart. She is also a K-C graduate also. Mrs. Garneau, who lives in Florida now, is and will be my hero, my Giant.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Usha Prasad

    Cecelia Lummus is a teacher who stands apart from all. My children have been lucky to go to a school where they have very good teachers but she stands apart in her methods and interaction with the children in class. Within the schoolday she manages to get the curriculum taught and the childern challenged at their individual level. She personifies the term enthusiastic teacher. It has bene a pleasure having her teach both my children. She certainly deserves the Gold star.

    Hardy Oak Elementary San Antonio TX

    October 19, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Barbara Kautz

    Teachers who make a commitment to not only educate their students academically but connect with them personally and let them know they matter should be acknowledged regularly. There are many who should be recognized but the following stand out to me for the passion for making a positive difference in their students' lives on a daily basis:
    Francoise Cohen – Craig Elementary School, Lawrenceville, GA
    Trish Blackwell – Craig Elementary School, Lawrenceville, GA
    Amber Hayes – Magill Elementary School, Loganville, GA

    October 19, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nikol Purvis

    I forgot to put this was back in the late 1980's at Kalamazoo Central located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The same HS where President Obama spoke this year. I carry with me today Mrs. Garneau's inspiration and teachings. I am a freelance journalist with an online company with a focus on topic that need light shed upon. Her teachings still inspire me to "be a Giant" to others.

    (Sorry for the multiple postings, using my phone to post)

    October 19, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. PC

    Zoe Shrecengost, a kindergarten teacher in Newport News, VA gave many of us our excellent start in the 1950s-60s. Without her loving, supportive, adventurous style of teaching, which was almost unheard of at the time, we would never have become the creative, successful people we are today. She believed in the power of the arts and the value of play to teach us how to be social, learning people, and I've been forever grateful to her.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Donna P.

    'Mrs.Abramowitz was a true inspiration for me as a praising supportive and inspirational high school art teacher at Jamaica HS in NYC. She is one reason why. I teach art today in a public school in NYC today. THANK YOU MRS.A.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pat Lech

    Mr. Joseph Jacangelo of West Caldwell Public Schools in New Jersey.He taught us about Pride and Team Work, he went to bat for so many students and took responsibility for every student as if we were his own....He transfered from Newark New Jersey schools to the suburbs and graced us with his gift for educating, for motivating, and for believing that we could be anything...Thank you to all the Washington Elementary School Teachers you are the tops...

    October 19, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
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