Zack Conkle’s award-winning short documentary film “Wright’s Law” is about his “crazy and really amazing” former high school physics teacher, Jeffrey Wright.
Most of us have had a teacher who has made a difference in our lives — helping us see the world differently, making us feel proud, motivating us to try harder. Some of us have even been lucky enough to have more than one.
Has a teacher ever inspired you? When?
Tara Parker-Pope’s article “Laws of Physics Can’t Trump the Bonds of Love” shares the story of a high school physics teacher who inspires his students year after year.
Jeffrey Wright is well known around his high school in Louisville, Ky., for his antics as a physics teacher, which include exploding pumpkins, hovercraft and a scary experiment that involves a bed of nails, a cinder block and a sledgehammer.
But it is a simple lecture — one without props or fireballs — that leaves the greatest impression on his students each year. The talk is about Mr. Wright’s son and the meaning of life, love and family.
It has become an annual event at Louisville Male Traditional High School (now coed, despite its name), and it has been captured in a short documentary, “Wright’s Law,” which recently won a gold medal in multimedia in the national College Photographer of the Year competition, run by the University of Missouri.
Students: Tell us …
- When has a teacher inspired you?
- Was it something specific that they said or did? Or, was it just something about the way they teach or interact with students that affected you? Explain or tell a story.
- Do you think you or your classmates ever inspire your teachers? In what ways?
Questions about issues in the news for students 13 and older.
"Teacher, You Touched My Life"
It is because of you that I will, one day, be able to go on and become one amazing teacher. I thank you for that.
From the Teachers.Net Chatboard:
Look What A Student Wrote Me!
Posted by anonymous
It's the end of the school year! It's a time that I would normally be so anxiously awaiting; but not any more. For I know that by summer simply coming, I end up losing two of my greatest friends. You are one of them, and I'm pretty sure you can figure out the other.
The impact that you have had on me this year is inexplicable. You have affected and changed me in so many ways that it's hard to single a few out. Under your teaching, and your influence, I have become a kinder, nicer, and more caring person. I find that I am so much more thoughtful towards others and much less likely to judge.
You have changed the way that I think about mathematics. Sadly, I used to despise math, and it used to be my weakest subject. I just couldn't figure out how all those numbers really would take a role in my life, and after all they weren't anything important to me personally. Where would numbers get me? I now look forward to math class with great anticipation, and ever so infrequently do I get a problem incorrect. Through you I was able to acquire a love for math that I'm confident will continue to grow as I get older.
You have also changed the way that I think about myself. Through you I was able to obtain a higher self esteem and a higher opinion of myself. I am able to look into the mirror and for one of the first times ever, be proud of the person that I am. You believed in me, and that's all that I really needed. You took the time to care, and not only that, but you made sure that I knew you cared. That has made the difference.
You have changed the way that I think about teachers. Before you, I always respected my teachers, but I was never really aware of the amount of work a teacher puts into their job. Before this year, I never realized how much certain teachers cared, nor did I ever take the time to thank them. Before this year, I never really thought into the fact that a teacher was a person with a personality, and you could like the person that a teacher was and befriend them for it.
I wish that I could have seen this before, for I had so many great teachers before you, but I am glad that I was able to realize it for at least half of this year. It would have been a shame if I never would have seen it, for I truly would have missed out on some great friendships with some amazing people, including you.
I wanted you to realize though, that without you, I never would have seen any of this. Without you, I would not be the person that I am today.
I also wanted to tell you, even though it is incredibly hard to write this, that you have done even more. Around the beginning of the year, I began to fall into a deep depression. I began to feel as if nobody cared, as if I wasn't even wanted in this world. I felt as if I wasn't worth anything to anybody; that nobody would even notice if I was no longer here. During those times, what kept me going was the thought of Mrs. ***** and you because I knew at least you two cared.
Those nights, when I felt as if I was no longer wanted in this world, I would call the homework hotline, dial 646, and simply listen. I'm aware that this sounds corny, and I feel unintelligent writing this, but hearing your voice was enough to tell me that, at least if no body else did, you wanted to see me the following day. And when I would walk into class the next day, although you had no idea of what you had done for me the night before, you would smile and greet me, only confirming my belief.
I'm intelligent enough to realize that you greet almost every student and that you didn't treat me differently or most likely even think of me differently than others, but for me it meant everything. I felt as if these greetings, the smiles, and the comments were a way of you communicating to me that I was your favorite, and although these thoughts were way off and quite selfish, they were the thoughts that kept me alive. It was because you took the time to show that you cared, that I was well aware of it.
At times, I truthfully believed that you (along with Mrs. *****) were the only ones there for me; but you were enough to save my life. If it weren't for you, showing how much you cared, being there for me, and simply doing your job to the best of your abilities, I probably wouldn't be alive today. You saved my life. I can never repay you for that; even these measly thoughts barely express the amount of gratitude I owe you. It is because of you that I will, one day, be able to go on and become one amazing teacher. I thank you for that.
Beyond simply saving my life though, you have touched it. You have changed the way I think and the person that I am. You have done all of this by only doing your job. So if you ever think that you don't matter or that you don't make a difference, think again. You have most definitely made the difference to me, upon what I'm sure are many others. Although, I have stated this before� I admire you, for you are an excellent teacher. You do everything an average teacher does, which in itself can drive a person insane; and yet you still do so much more. You look to each student as if they are an equal; never really looking down on them, treating them with respect even though you were the one that deserved it.
You care about every student, and you are able to see the positive in every child that walks into your room. You try and motivate and inspire every student, never giving up, and in many cases because of your perseverance you succeed.
You are never afraid to be funny, or to be yourself in front of a class, and students appreciate that. Learning to be yourself is one of the first steps in becoming an outstanding teacher, and you have conquered that already. Your students like you, not only because you are a good teacher, but because you reflect your personality in your teaching, they are able to also like you for the person that you are.
Because of all this mentioned, I can never repay you. I could not simply buy you a gift and figure well that's it. I will never forget you. You are the teacher that made the difference, the teacher that inspired me, and the teacher that saved my life.
I will never forget, although you may have already, the one day when you made a comment to me that went something like this, "I wish I would have had a daughter, for then she could be as sweet as you." I wanted to let you know that, in many ways, you have become somewhat of a surrogate mother to me this year. The manner in which you nurtured, cared, and looked after me this year has meant so much, for I rarely see my own mother. She is often not home when I am, for her strenuous work schedule is to blame.
The comment mentioned above also meant so much to me, for if you, a truly kind, caring, and remarkable person, could say that I am sweet than you must really see something in me. And that got me thinking, if I respect you and admire you so much, and you are able to make remarks like that to me, then I must be special too.
You will forever remain my role model, most likely for the remainder of my life. I am confident that I will never forget you--even in the depths of my most troubled times. You will forever remain in my memories as the extraordinarily astonishing person you are, never to be faded or rubbed away.
I am crying as I write this, for I know that this is the end of a friendship--or maybe not. It might only be the beginning, for who knows what the Lord has in store. I can make one promise to you that I will never break, even when I am wrinkled and tired, whenever you need somebody, I will be there. Whenever you may happen to look skyward and think of me, I can promise you that no matter where I am I will be thinking of you too.
I will never forget all that you have done. I will never forget your presence, your existence, or your memory. I will never forget all that you have taught me, both mathematical and otherwise. I will never forget you. I can now say, with all honestly, after I've poured my heart and soul out onto paper, that I love you. I love you, and I always will.
Your Student, Friend, Admirer, & Fan
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