A Teacher’s Influence

By Karen Jurgens

Education has been front and center my entire life. After my years as a student, I continued with a life-long teaching career until my retirement a year ago. As I look back, scenes from my own elementary and secondary school days stand out like cars of a long train which shaped and influenced my future. Are teachers important on life’s journey? Take a look.

Third grade: Mrs. Foster plays the piano in a corner of the room, teaching us how to sing O Tannenbaum in German. One day she chooses me to teach the class our math problems, and I write them on the board for the class, happily grading all the papers at home. That year I learn a love for foreign language and the desire to be a teacher.

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Eighth grade: Miss Pruden teaches us how to deliver a book report. I stand up straight, elbows at my side, holding index cards. I talk between three and five minutes. Afterwards, she takes a desk bell and taps it for each time I uttered an “um” during my report. Here the foundation for speaking is laid in her class, which I will always use in my future.

Tenth grade: Mr. Stirling teases and jokes as he leads us in French grammar and literature in our immersion class. His perfect French accent is permanently recorded in my memory. I enjoy learning the poetry and literature of the French Masters, and I know I want to also teach French. I will pursue it as a minor through my undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Eleventh grade: Miss Koenitzer flounces into the room, her long dress billowing behind her. She teaches us writing, which will ground me in my love of creative writing and future writing career. With great flamboyance, she acts out Shakespeare, and her favorite lines she often quotes to us spoken by Marullus from the play Julius Caesar are, “You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!” Literature comes alive, and I will pursue English as a major in college.

Twelfth grade: Mrs. Liebich teaches American History, speaking slowly so we can take good notes on her lecture, preparing us for a university experience. During a required interview, she gives me feedback, declaring, “You will always succeed because you can think on your feet.” Her confidence in me instills courage to speak spontaneously in the future, as I recall her prophetic words spoken over my life.

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing Prompt: Do you have favorite teachers who molded your life?


Karen Jurgens, a native Cincinnatian, has been a Texan transplant for thirty years and counting. Since retiring from teaching in 2014, she has begun a new career writing, blogging, and speaking within the context of Christian ministry.

Her first contemporary romance novella has now been published on Amazon. A Mosaic Christmas is part of a multi-author anthology, Warm Mulled Kisses. Link to it here: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Jurgens/e/B016CXTOOG/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_10

She is a Crew Member at Jennifer Hallmark’s Writing Prompts, Thoughts, and Ideas blog and a member of ACFW. You can follow her blog about scriptural answers to life’s trials at Touched by Him Ministries: www.karenjurgens.com.

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4 thoughts on “A Teacher’s Influence

  1. I had a 10th grade English teacher that really influenced me in so many ways. Because of her, I had more confidence and learned the love of reading. I will never forget her.

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