Alibi V.25 No.3 • Jan 21-27, 2016 


Game Changers

Locals tell about the classes and teachers that made a difference

We all have that one teacher or class that changed everything. For me, it was Ms. Ossenbeck (now Mrs. Torres) in 3rd grade who taught me to love books. During read aloud time, she would read classics like Where the Red Fern Grows that would have the whole class crying in a soggy puddle on the floor—but we loved it and begged for more. Speaking to her years later, she told me she hadn't realized how deeply children feel and invest in the imaginary until she saw the tears spilled for Old Dan and Little Ann. I will forever be grateful to her for teaching me to love characters and embrace my imagination.

Years later at NMSU, another class that opened my eyes and changed my world: Theory of Literary Criticism. I was asked questions I'd never pondered before and every day I left with a whole new perspective on everything from words and symbols to God, Beauty and Art. Classes and the educators who lead them have incredible power over the direction one's life can take. So Alibi took to the streets of Burque to ask the locals, “What is the best class you've ever taken or who is the best teacher you've ever had?”


“The best class I've ever had was in graduate school with a teacher who understood, listened, understood our workload, taught at our pace and taught very much to our level of education. Overall, the teacher made the class by far. It changed my career path. It changed my view of the medical system.”


“My senior English teacher in high school, which is weird because I'm a math/engineering type person. I always kinda hated English. It was never my thing. She was one of my favorites because even though writing wasn't my thing, she encouraged me, was always excited and always made writing exciting. Ever since then, she turned me into more of a writing-type person which is good for everything you do even if it is in engineering. Her name was Mrs. Willard.”


“My favorite class was Survey and Calculations at TVI [CNM]. The professor there was from Highlands University and he was one of the smartest people in engineering and mathematics that I've worked with. The drafting teacher there was great too but that math teacher was just so smart and presented things so carefully and correctly. That was the best teacher I ever met.”


“My best teacher was Mrs. Martinez because she was really cool and understanding. She teaches Language Arts.”


“The most life changing teacher I ever had was a photography teacher named Mr. Hudock at Sandia Prep High School in the mid '90s. He turned me on to photography and a different way of seeing and he made it both academic and challenging. He turned me into a lifelong learner of photography.”


“There were several [teachers] throughout different stages. There's somebody in high school who stood out. She was my English teacher … Can I name my mom? She gave me the advice that gave me the profession I have now. I actually went to career advising and was told I shouldn't study biology because I was a woman and I wouldn't succeed. My mom said don't listen to them. It worked out because now I'm a professor at New Mexico State University. There were good teachers along the way but my mom made the biggest difference.”


“I liked my chemistry class. I look at ingredients in food and I see how there's sodium chloride or whatever. And it says the chemical formulas and I know what that is and I know how to balance those. Chemistry … I don't like it but I passed it. It's really interesting, after you take that class.”


“My music teacher at my old high school—Mr. Brown. At Highland High my junior year, I think. He was fun!”


“I go to CNM. My favorite teacher is John Wright. He's my English teacher. He's got a certain way of getting things across and he's funny. He makes the class fun.”