Being a teacher wasn't something I've always wanted to do. As a kid, I went through the regular career choices of fireman, baseball player, astronaut, and the like. When I entered high school, I was thinking more along the lines of some kind of scientist. So I loaded myself up on science courses graduating with 5 and a half science credits.
But in that time, two of my science teachers planted the seed of teaching in my mind simply due to their passion of sharing the universe. One was my astronomy teacher, Brian Yates, who moved to another school shortly after I graduated. The biggest influence, however, was my physics and advanced physics teacher, Phillip Wojak.
Like most students, I have fond memories of his classes and his humor. When creating problems involving objects from platforms with initial upwards velocities, he generally drew it being dropped from a hot air balloon into an ocean in which he always sketched a triangle in the water. He would then ask what the triangle was. Initially we assumed it was a shark fin to which he'd reply, "No. It's a drowned witch." I still have all of my notes from his class, sketches included.
Mr. Wojak was a long time teacher at my high school and has been there 44 years, long enough that he had taught Mr. Yates when he'd attended that school and it showed. But at long last, Mr. Wojak is retiring, at least partially.
Still living in the area, I've seen him occasionally when I went back to the school to visit as well as around town, at the grocery and the like. I've let him know just how much he's inspired me, but his outstanding performance is one that cannot go understated.
Mr. Wojak is still, far and above, the most influential teacher I've ever had.