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.

Post by:
Filed under: #BeaHero
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Jaime Long

    My preschool teacher, Mrs. Quinn from Learning Land Preschool in Wayne, NJ was a wonderful teacher. She taught preschool like real school not just play school. Because of her unique approach to preschoolers, many kids got a head start in reading and math. Improving our schools and our high school graduation rate does not start with high school teachers, it starts with preschool teachers who put the first link in the chain of learning. Because of Mrs. Quinn, I am a kindergarten teacher myself and enjoy inspiring kids to learn!

    October 19, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Julie

    I want to honor my room mate Kelli McDaniel. I wish i had had her in the third grade. She cares about her students to the point of exhaustion. Working in gang turf in the Bronx, she sees her share of struggles and she makes sure that each child who struggles, leaves her class with marked victory over those difficulties. Kids who hate to read, learn to love it. Kids who are behind others, learn that they too are smart. Not only does she work with each child for their specific need, but she is passionate about finding new ways to encourage growth in all areas; from character building, to math and science, to community betterment; and her kids know how much she cares. Of their own accord, they write her heart-felt notes and letters that make me cry. A nationally board certified teacher, she doesnt get nearly the recognition she deserves. Her passion for the upcoming generations inspires me. I want to be more like her.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Heather Phillips

    Nancy Earnest Cole- taught art at DeSoto HS in DeSoto Tx in the 80's and 90's. I had her class from Soph. to Senior years. Nancy is a wonderful, encouraging and loving teacher. She taught us to volunteer and to be involved in activities at school we probably wouldn't have cared about otherwise. She brought out our individual talents and pushed us to try new techniques. Both of my brothers had her class in HS and feel the same way.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Kilsheimer

    My high school English teacher was Mrs. Gertrude Segal at El Camino High School in Woodland Hills, Ca. in 1972-73. She complimented my writing and encouraged me to pursue it. She also brought Shakespeare alive. In her Shakespeare class, she assigned students to read excerpts of MacBeth and Hamlet, but would take over when the students couldn't get the cadence right. It was a pure pleasure to watch her peform each part!

    October 19, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lori

    Louise Demas who once taught Language Arts at Lewiston Jr. High School and now teaches in Massachusetts. She is a shining star who still influences me today!
    Also, Ellen Cifelli who taught at Lewiston High School. These ladies are the best of the best!

    October 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. vanne

    Mrs. Peggy Ryals of Myrtle Beach High School in South Carolina. She help me become the person I am today, I came to this country knowing not one word of English and she taught me the language and many other things. She helped me sign up for the local college and was there at my graduation. She is an ESL teacher and loves her students she works with them teaches them, encourage them to go to college and get an education. Education is what she cares most about she wants all of them to have an opportunity of becoming somebody in life... we need teachers like her and I know they are somewhere in the country as well.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lisa Linkowsky

    A gold shiny star for Mrs. Maria Schultz at Robinson Elementary in Hamilton, NJ. She teaches first grade and she truly has a gift for teaching. She loves what she does and she works amazingly well with kids. Her main focus is literacy which is the foundation for education. It is important to note that Mrs. Schultz has a child with a rare and incurable disease and she has raised incredible amounts of money toward research for this disease and she is working toward her Masters. Our school is so lucky to have Mrs. Schultz and my daughter is blessed to have this wonderful teacher who is an inspiration to all.

    October 19, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chrisa Hickey

    Mrs. Mary-Anne Setticase, special education teacher for grades 1 and 2 at Valley Center Primary School in Valley Center, CA. My son, now 16, was in her class for two years. Tim has Schizoaffective Disorder, which, if you're a special education teacher, means a child easily agitated, prone to rage, hallucinations, paranoia and delusions. But not with Mrs. Setticase. She did more than teach my son reading and how to behave in class. She taught him that he is NOT his disability, and that he is special because he's different, not in spite of it. He still carries with him the memory of how much she cared for him.

    October 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Patricia DeGraw

    There are many teachers in the school district my children attend that stand out and are Gold Star teachers. They are in education for all the right reasons: they touch their students academically and strive for the kids to give their best, they personnaly connect to the students, their parents and persue that home/school connection everyday. Their passion for education is contagious and electrifying:
    All the teachers , Altmar Elementary
    All the teachers, Parish Elementary

    October 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Reed

    Caitlin McCarthy is an English Language Arts teacher at Worcester Technical High School, an inner-city vocational public high school in Worcester, Massachusetts. She is a wonderful role model for her students. Not only does she encourage reading and writing across the curriculum, she writes award-winning screenplays outside of school, highlighting how writing and literacy can lead to success if youwork hard and never give up on your dreams. Last year, Ms McCarthy applied for and won a mini-grant from the National Council of Jewish Women's Worcester Chapter to bring famed author Andre Dubus III to speak with the entire freshmen body. She has won other grants for field trips, so her students won't be deprived of enrichment during this difficult economic time. Ms. McCarthy constantly seeks out ways for students to make real-life connections to reading and writing. She "walks the walk" and is a real hero to her students.

    October 19, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dianne john

    Ms. Turner, Kindergarten teacher, Margate Elementary, Margate, Fl is a great teacher. I believe she takes her time and put a great deal of effort into teaching her class.

    October 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Erica

    Mr. Mark Teavault at Leawood Middle School in Leawood, Kansas. I've not had a teacher like him since. Afterall, someone who makes learning about ancient Greek and Roman history FUN for sixth-graders has something special going on. He loves the movie Sparticus and actually dressed up in character. He has never, ever forgotten the name of a former student and I tested this theory on the day I graduated from high school. Sure enough, he knew my first and last name, where I sat in his classroom and who my friends were. Someone who invests that much in their individual students deserves a Gold Star, for sure!

    October 19, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Judy

    My daughter is taught by a wonderful second grade teacher, Ms. Sloane Dills of Bonner Elementary in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. Ms. Dills puts in every effort she can for her children and is a positive influence not only on my child but others in the classroom. Thank You Ms.Dills.

    October 19, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Liz Johnson

    James Economon is by far one of the best high school literature teachers I've seen. He has inspired my teenage son and countless other students to appreciate reading and to understand great literature and the english language, as well as classic selections of old music.
    He has such an appreciation and command of the english language itself and has the ability to teach his students with such passion. Aside from that, he is also a beloved baseball coach, volleyball coach and mentor. He's been teaching and coaching at our local public academic high school for 30 years and is still inspiring!

    October 19, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Shannon Jackson

    Montezuma Elementary in Stockton, CA, has a core of really wonderful teachers who go above and beyond for their students and the community every day. Where many educators shun the idea of being in a "South Area" school, these teachers love their students, and make life shine for them, even if things are rough outside. They are:
    Liane Roberts, for her ability to make each student achieve individual best.
    Carolyn Harr, for never turning her back on any student, regardless of need, and for inspiring students to learn about the world.
    Lisa Dib, the best 1st grade teacher in the city, if not the state. Kids leave her reading.
    Judi Davis, who has endless patience and a way of getting kids to think and solve anything
    Marci Rogers, the specialist who keeps the school running, always listens to kids with problems, and is a huge support and resource for kids, teachers, and parents.

    These folks are a mainstay for our community, and it hurts all fo us when Hollywood guys want to bash on them. They really don't get it, but we do. Thanks, Montezuma!

    October 19, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10