This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week, and Tuesday was National Teachers Day. During the week I noticed social media posts about inspiring teachers, as well as a few news segments where anchors were reunited with their favorite teacher.
From my first days at Berkeley Elementary School, to my last days of school at Newberry College, I’ve had a lot of teachers who I cared for that helped mold and guide me. With that being said, I have to say there was one teacher that was not only a mentor to me, but also set me down the path that led me to become editor at The Newberry Observer. Her name was Mrs. Katharine Hyman, she was my ninth grade English teacher and my journalism teacher in 11th and 12th grade at Berkeley High School.
As I said, I first had Mrs. Hyman my sophomore year as my English teacher and while I do not remember everything we read, I do remember reading “Night,” “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Julius Caesar.” I’m not sure why those three stick in my mind, but they do. I remember Mrs. Hyman being a fun and interactive teacher. She related to the class well, and she knew us on a personal level. Our assignments were enjoyable and she helped guide us to become responsible adults.
I had Mrs. Hyman my first semester – she wasn’t my teacher during the second semester, but her door was always open to past and present students. This open door policy helped me get into the Journalism class.
When it came time to pick our classes for the next semester, one class elective was the journalism newspaper class. This wasn’t a class you could just sign up for, you had to apply for it. The requirement was to write an article, and you had options on what to write. It may not surprise any of our readers to know, I picked a feature story and the first teacher to come to mind was Mrs. Hyman.
Some of you might be thinking, he chose to do a profile story on the teacher of the class? I in fact did not, at that time anyway. Another teacher was in charge of the class, so I picked Mrs. Hyman to interview. She gladly accepted, and I interviewed her. I still remember her telling me how great the questions were. So I wrote the story and took it to the teacher, and I waited.
A few weeks go by, and my guidance counselor informed me that I got in, happy day! I actually went to Mrs. Hyman’s class that afternoon to give her a high five.
The summer comes and goes, and school begins, with a new class schedule and lo and behold the name of the teacher was Katharine Hyman. I was shocked, speaking to her the first day of school she told me she knew she would be the teacher that day I told her I was in the class, but wanted to keep it a surprise.
This lead to me spending two years on the newspaper, eventually getting to the rank of photo editor. During that time Mrs. Hyman was a great mentor for journalism. She taught us ethics, writing style and most importantly, to not let anyone dictate how you write a story.
Mrs. Hyman was not only a great educator, but a genuinely kind human being. I still remember having conversations with her about my college woes, and what I was going to do. She guided me and helped get me through a pretty rough period in my high school days. In fact, it was with her help that I decided to go to Newberry College.
Even though “thank you” doesn’t do it justice, please know Mrs. Hyman that I thank you for being my teacher, and thank you for being the mentor I needed.
Andrew Wigger is the editor for The Newberry Observer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.