Updated: Nov 21, 2019
No matter how long ago we completed school, September brings back memories of the great teachers the good teachers and the not-so-good teachers. One of our family’s worst memories is of the second grade teacher who repeatedly ate our son’s “Ho-Hos”.
My all-time favorite teacher, Thomas Patrick Burke, was my teacher at Dinwiddie High School for eighth grade Virginia history, eleventh grade U.S. History and twelfth grade Government. Though he has been Dr. Burke for many years and has urged me to call him Pat in more recent years, he will always be “Mr. Burke” to me. Mr. Burke was the combination of all the best attributes for a teacher: smart, passionate about the subjects he taught, funny (he often used comic strip characters as one of the choices on multiple-choice quizzes), tough (we were all a bit scared to not complete homework or to not be prepared for classes) and caring about his students long after they graduated. I was so relieved to visit him following my first semester in college to let him know I had received a “B” in history. I was honored shortly after my former newspaper, the San Luis Obispo Tribune, started our website and Mr. Burke told me he was reading my weekly columns online!
I am so thankful that years ago, I started inviting him and his wife to some family events and class reunions when I was visiting my family in Virginia. I hope he knows how fondly he is remembered and how very thankful many of us are that he was our teacher so many years ago! Mr. Burke was the best teacher I ever had and that includes first grade through graduate school.
Thank you to the great teachers who make such important contributions to our students, our schools and our nation.