I've been thinking about teachers a lot lately, which is natural.

I cover education in Harford County, I recently attended the Teacher of the Year banquet and had the pleasure (seriously!) of sitting in on the winner's, Christina O'Neill, class.

Beyond that, my life is also full of teachers.

My husband, Chris, is a long-term substitute in Baltimore County and three of my best friends are teachers. Put them all in a room together and it's all they can talk about (PS: hearing about lesson planning when you're a non-teacher is boring).


"Like" exploreharford's Facebook page

At the Teacher of the Year banquet, Board of Education President Leonard Wheeler spoke about favorite teachers and how a person can immediately name the one — or several — educators in his or her lifetime who made a huge impact.

During his speech I had four faces, not including college, come to mind.

Chris and I have talked before about how a teacher can change someone's mind or life. When a student tells him how much they loved his class or just show appreciation, he's pretty much glowing for the rest of the day.

I was never that bold of a person growing up to tell my teacher, "Hey, you're awesome." My third grade teacher who got me into writing never got to know that I'm a writer/reporter/whatever you want to call it because of her.

Not many people have that kind of influence to lead someone's life in one direction or another, yet teachers do that every day.

So, I'm using this column as my chance to tell four teachers I had while growing up in Bel Air that hey, you guys are pretty awesome.

Mrs. Price, third grade teacher at Bel Air Elementary.

The aforementioned mentor who got me hooked on the written word, but she did much more.

Mrs. Price really got 8-year-old me thinking about books. What makes a good story, what makes something worth reading and then have us apply that to our own creations.

She encouraged us to write — a lot. Even though I was probably the only kid to get excited at yet another assignment, her passion for reading and writing really rubbed off.

Mrs. Price also made us read "Charlotte's Web," which had me crying at the end. I never read it again or watched the movie because it's too sad.

Bonus: I still remember the original 13 colonies of the United States. I can barely remember what I did last week, but I remember that.

When I called BAES to see if Mrs. Price was still there (a long shot since she was already a veteran teacher when I had her), I was told she retired "quite a few years" ago. I'm sure in her time at the school, she influenced many others.

Mr. Rinehart, eighth grade social studies at Southampton Middle School.

The best thing about Mr. Rinehart is that he loves music and movies and constantly talked about just that. Many conversations were had. When a teacher shows he has the same interests as you, you usually pay attention.

He's like Robin Williams' character in "Dead Poets Society," not only because he would quote the movie all the time, but also because he challenged us in non-conventional ways and made learning fun.