I was inspired by my fourth-grade teacher
Now retired from the classroom, Mike Flagg had always wanted to be a teacher and enjoyed interacting with his students.
May 7th, 2012
10:40 AM ET

I was inspired by my fourth-grade teacher

Courtesy Scott BennettBy Katherine Dorsett Bennett, CNN

Editor’s Note: In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week this week, we’re asking our colleagues at CNN to share their stories of teachers who have inspired them. Katherine Dorsett Bennett is a copy editor at CNN.com.

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." – quote by William Arthur Ward, American scholar.

As an elementary student, I enjoyed reading the newspaper and watching the news on TV. I had a natural curiosity about current events. I grew up in LaPorte, Indiana, and was interested to learn all I could about my small town and the big world outside of it.

My curiosity about news turned into a passion the day I stepped into Mike Flagg's fourth-grade class at Door Village Elementary School in 1981. Some of his lesson plans included classroom time to discuss current events and how they impacted our lives. He explained to us, for instance, how significant it was for Sandra Day O'Connor to be appointed as the first female member of the U.S. Supreme Court that year. He put in context this great achievement for women and got me excited about government and how journalists reported about it.

Mike Flagg opened my eyes to a news report about the introduction of the Boeing 767 – a plane that made its first flight in 1981 and could carry a large amount of people to places all over the world. Little did I know back then that I would one day write about travel destinations and many other types of stories about places around the world for CNN.

Mike Flagg made it fun and exciting to discuss and analyze the news and look at images of current events he displayed on the classroom projector. (Projectors were high-tech gadgets back in the 80s!) His passion for teaching us about current events elevated my interest in journalism.

He taught elementary school children for 33 years and retired in 2001. He always wanted to be a teacher and enjoyed interacting with his many students. He said the rewards of teaching included the moments when he would watch a student's face light up as he or she grasped a lesson.

He's now 66-years-old and spending his retirement years cooking, reading and watching his four grandchildren grow up. He's helping his grandkids with their school work, too. It will be interesting to see the lasting impression he'll leave on them as they grow older. I hope he's proud of the lasting impression he gave to me.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. kavita gunaji

    And our presidents should all be white honest intelligent well-educated males; not some floozy who cheated on her husband.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  2. kavita gunaji

    I have to rephrase the last sentence in my previous comment – Mr Obama, I hope you are the last Ugly, Black, International and Female president that ever represents the Beautiful USA that should be represented by the Beautiful White Church going hard working tax paying Americans that are honest and God fearing – not someone who attends mosque with the name 'hussein' after his godfather 'saddam' and not someone who is probably the result of the tsunami in the indian ocean in 2004; and not someone that is probably the result of a conspiracy between india and iran in a political game of weakening the US.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  3. kavita gunaji

    you want examples of life ruined: husband and kids change at the soul level, job is lost forever, i lost all my assets that i had, credit history was ruined, people still break and enter into my home and leave me cleaning chores because they are as ugly as the president. obama, i hate you. do not become our president again. i hate you. you ruined everything i and my family stand for. other presidents rescued me when i made stupid mistakes. you sent me to the depths of hell. your wife got jealous because i did not have one day of bad health in one year. you send people at night to deposit bacteria on my womb and have people put superglue in my nose. i hope you are the last ugly black, international, and transgender president to ever represent this country. goodbye.

    May 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  4. kavita gunaji

    whatever it is, if you want this country to prosper, do not – i rephrase – DO NOT RE-ELECT OBAMA – you can't imagine what i have gone through after he became president. he ruined my life. his wife targets me personally.

    May 8, 2012 at 7:56 pm |