At the start of every year, I like to think about what type of educator I want to be. When I think of the perfect teacher, I think of Char Manchen, my beautiful, rambunctious music teacher from 3rd-8th at Ascension in Oak Park. She was the first teacher to really make a difference in my life and show me the kind of teacher I wanted to be. She made me feel special, like I mattered, during a very difficult time in my life. I will never forget her frizzy red hair, her infectious smile and the wire rimmed glasses she would peer over when you earned her ‘look”. She was a sassy small bit of a woman who could knock the biggest bully down a peg. I loved this woman!

Are you the type of teacher that kids talk about (in a good way) when they leave your classroom? Do you stand up for the quiet, shy and insecure kids who just can’t stand up for themselves yet? I hope so. This is the type of teacher I always strive to be. This is the type of teacher I want for my own kids.


Ms. Manchen was crazy funny and never took herself too seriously. Her class was the one where you never knew what would happen next. Once when the “boys” were causing problems in the back of the room and not paying attention…she did a quick handstand on the floor. It happened so quickly that the boys who weren’t paying attention missed the whole thing. We were all sworn to secrecy and couldn’t tell. It was awesome!


What will you do to set yourself apart from everyone else? Several people are making videos, which is awesome, but what’s next? How do you keep the momentum going? I love the Fish Philosophy and think it fits really well in school.


  1. Be There
  2. Play
  3. Make their Day
  4. Choose your Attitude


I think by following these 4 rules, we can all be amazing teachers like Ms. Manchen was and I always strive to be. How can you “Be There” for your students? How will you “play” today? What can you say or do that will “make their day”? What “attitude” will you choose today?

1 Comment

  1. I think about how I want to be remembered. When things are not going well or I feel like I am in a rut, I ask myself "What are they going to remember about this class/". I want to be that teacher who students talk about because I care and I truly believe that is what matters. Thanks Anne for making me think about my favorite teachers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *