One class led by one educator has the power to change the lives of students and families forever.
In light of Teacher Appreciation Day, we are honoring the educators who are making a lasting difference in their communities. We asked The Huffington Post Education community to tell us about the amazing educators who have made them better students, parents and individuals.
Below are nine quotes from current students, former students and parents on teachers who changed their lives or the lives of their children.
1. "What is Ms. Drum to me? She is not only a teacher; she is an example, she is an advice column, she is an encyclopedia full of information about any topic in which you may have an interest, she is a thinker, she is a debater, she is a mom to all of her students." -- Jayden Mills, sophomore at Chickasha High School in Oklahoma
2. "Jen Field is one of 'those' teachers. You know, the kind you are only lucky enough to encounter once or twice in 12 years of public education. The kind that you count as not only your child's best teacher, but the best teacher you yourself, as a parent, could have had. … Ms. Field makes every child (and by extension, every parent) feel like they are special. They matter. They are valued. They make a DIFFERENCE." -- Parent Nora Distefano
3. "He saw talent, he saw hope, he saw a future. He believed in me so much, I began to believe in myself. Nearly 13 years out of high school, I still credit Rashid Silvera with saving my life, because he made me want to have one." -- Danielle Glick, on her Scarsdale, New York, high school teacher, Rashid Silvera
4. "Ami was real turning point for me. I’d never considered much of myself or considered college until I met her. … Ami was a pivotal person at a critical time, and I will be thankful for the rest of my life for what she did for me." -- Amanda Keller on her former teacher, Ami Winebrenner
5. "Under her wing, I learned that it's OK to be a female that kicks ass. … Entering a room is a lot easier now; I no longer concern myself with proverbial notes taped to my back. I walk with my love and self-admiration; I am never alone." -- Nicole Heyman on her Florida State University educator, Martha McKay Canter
6. “I started to believe in myself like he believed in me and decided that I was not going to settle for the limit that I had placed on myself. I will be graduating with honors this year as a confident choral music educator who is ready to make a difference. … If I make just half of the influence on my students’ lives that he has made in mine, I would feel fulfilled as a teacher." -- Jessica Rikard on Dr. Ian Loeppky, music professor and director of choral activities at the University of North Alabama
7.“Ms. Stavrou is also committed to providing her students with academic success. She has the unique ability to reach a struggling student with simple yet profound empathy, coupled with complete professionalism. Likewise, she can accelerate and challenge her brightest students because of professional development experiences and innovations she has pursued.” –- Michelle Birnbaum on an educator who has taught her children
8. “She doesn't tend to sugarcoat things, which I appreciate, so then I know exactly what to fix so I can be better at whatever it is the next time. She motivates me to act better, lead better and bring positivity and an open mind everywhere I go, and I think that deserves some serious appreciation.” –- Ava Peabody, student at Verrado High School in Arizona, on her theatre teacher, Ms. Anderson
9. “If I could hope for nothing else in this life, I’d hope to grow up to be exactly like Ms. Ebstein. I feel nothing but respect and love for her as a person and teacher. She is truly the best educator I know.” -- Blake Krawczuk, junior at Pawling High School in New York, on educator Rebecca Ebstein
These quotes have been edited lightly for length and clarity.