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25 Nov 2011 20:19


U.S.: National Day of Listening: An anecdote from SFB’s Chris Tognotti

  • While I’ve had many teachers with whom I’ve felt close, and many who helped my academic instincts thrive, none had the impact on my true life’s experience that Carla Zilbersmith did. A theater director and improv teacher at my community college, as well as an evocative vocalist, Carla helped me better understand not only who I am, but urged me to push against the boundaries of my own comforts and fears. In fact, she made me promise her I would. Carla died on May 17th, 2010, after being diagnosed with ALS two years prior — she was 47 years old. I miss her dearly. I still can’t hold back the tears when one of her songs play on my iPod, and I’m skeptical as to whether that will ever change. I loved her, and for the dedication she had to improving my life and those lives around her, I will never forget. (Just a reminder to all: We’re taking your submissions too. Read more here.)

25 Nov 2011 16:12


About: National Day of Listening: An anecdote from SFB’s Ernie Smith

  • I went through a lot between the ages of 15 and 21. Heck, my entire family did. By the time I reached age 21, I had lost two parents and a grandparent. With regards to school, I’ll remember two things: The high school teacher who left me out in the cold when my grandmother died and the professors who were there when my mom died. Without dwelling too much on the first one, let’s focus on the second. I was a J-School student at Michigan State University, learning about graphic design at the time — that thing that eventually became my career. As a coping mechanism, I was back in school less than 24 hours after my mom’s funeral. The professor in my publication design class, Darcy Greene, was aware that my focus would fade at times, but she kept me motivated. She (and another professor in the same department, Cheryl Pell) helped me build my skill set, noticed this whole talent thing I’m rumored to have, and helped me get my first job in journalism. And in the process, they got me through a tough year … on an upswing. I can never thank them enough for that. (Just a reminder to all: We’re taking your submissions too. Read more here.)

22 Nov 2011 16:41


Culture: Thanksgiving weekend homework: On Friday, thank a teacher.

  • Can you think of the one teacher that inspires you? On Thanksgiving this year, give thanks for your meal and how lucky you are to be with your family and all that jazz. On Friday, after you’ve convinced your dad that Chrome is the browser of the future, take part in The 2011 National Day of Listening, organized by the nonprofit StoryCorps, a group “dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs.” How can you help? Simple. Thank a teacher, and tell the world about it. Who inspired you to do your best work? Who encouraged you to try something you were afraid of doing? Who helped make you the person you are today? Take a couple days. Think about it. Then report back. On Friday, the ShortFormBlog staff will put up a couple anecdotes from our own teachers. And we’ll pick a couple from readers. Shoot us a message over here, or throw up a post; StoryCorps is also looking for Facebook posts and tweets with the hashtag #ThankATeacher. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say. source