Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tip #133: Inspiration

My mother, Merle Levine, was a high school social studies teacher for many years before she became a high school principal. In a recent Tip, I mentioned that she was the one who first introduced me to Dr. Madeline Hunter's Mastery Teaching Model, which had an enduring impact on my philosophy and approach to training.

I have always known that my mother is an incredible teacher- creative, caring, dedicated to bringing history and culture alive for her students through role plays, field trips, literature, debates and all of the interactive and challenging avenues through which excellent educators introduce and teach critical thinking.

This week, I received a message from someone who had been trying to locate my mother. When she googled my mother's name, it brought her to that Tip, so she wrote to me. In our correspondence back and forth to give her my mother's contact information, the writer had this to say:

I was a student of hers (Wheatley '73) and think of her often... She is the main source of many of my fond memories of [high school].”

It must be a common dream of most educators to have an impact on their students. Imagine one of your students remembering you and thinking of you “often” for over thirty-three years!

When William A. Ward wrote this sentiment, I'm certain he was thinking of my mother and of all the special teachers who make an indelible positive impression on the lives of their students: "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”


  1. I was a student of your Mom's at Wheatley ('72). I went on to write about role models, and when I think of my most influential, strong, brilliant role models, she's at the top of my list. Where is she now?

    All the Best,
    Ally Acker (my first name in HS was Arlene).

  2. Laurel,
    We probably met a loong tie ago when Merl hosted students from Wheatley at the house.I graduated in 1969.
    Merl was my grounding in very rough times in my life. In many ways she still is my inspiration and has given me the courage to be curious and explore...she taught me that learning is a lifetime experience. so she has always been near to my heart and dear to me for all she did in a shot period of time.
    Wherever Merl is today, she is with me always...and she was the first person I thought about as this is honor a teachers week.
    Thank you for listening and I am sure you are proud and inspired by her as well.


    Andy (Rotman)-Zaid