From Our ReadersHot for TeacherFrom Our Readers

We all know that teachers are a grand source of inspiration. After all, if you yourself can’t look back and think of a teacher that left their stamp on your growing brain, then at least there are plenty of movies you can glean that experience from (I’m looking at you Mr. Holland’s Opus/Dangerous Minds/Stand and Deliver). I have been fortunate to have been taught by some wonderful educators throughout my school years, but there is one in particular that stands out in my mind, Mr. Barniskis. Through his 10th grade American Lit class he exposed my young mind to the likes of JD Salinger, Dalton Trumbo and Ken Kesey… and he was hot.

Now, I know that sounds terrible, but let me explain! Yes, he was one of the young teachers who in his late 20s was single, tall, dark and handsome with adorable plastic framed glasses, but what made me fall head-over-heels in puppy love with him was how he was so different from the boys my age. Up to that point in my life as a shy, chubby, frizzy haired, 15-year-old girl the only males I’d had as an example to the gender that I wasn’t related to all seemed either smelly, immature, oblivious, mean, or a combination of the four. Mr. B though, he was, like, sooooooo mature. He was an avid bibliophile (obviously), knew fancy smart people words I’d never heard before (like bibliophile) and listened to Bob Dylan (which seemed way more profound than Smash Mouth, no offense). Still, even at that age, I remember thinking that the best thing about him was how he was able to look beyond my awkward exterior and see that I was going to probably turn out to be a capable adult woman one day, which made me feel good my future and about myself.

Plus we got to watch Star Wars for class one week, which was totally awesome.

A couple of summers after I had graduated high school, I was still living in Oregon and I thought I caught a glimpse of Mr. B perusing the aisles of Powell’s Books in downtown Portland one afternoon. I wanted to tell him what his class meant to me, and what a great teacher I thought he was, but before I could collect myself he was gone from sight. Disappointed and possibly drunk off watching too many twee foreign films, I decided to post both in print and online one of those “missed connections” type ads in the local alternative news paper basically stating what I said above. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I was surprised at the immediate feedback I received from complete strangers telling me how great they thought it was that there were still youths out there that were affected by and thankful for the teachers that influenced them. It was all very heartwarming and such, but when I saw his name in my inbox, the warming changed to skipping. Turned out that somebody Mr. B knew had seen the ad and brought his attention to it. He let me know that the man I saw wasn’t him because now he lived in Minnesota (but floated the theory it may have been his brother who still lived locally), that he did indeed remember me as a “bright spot in a class full of dullards” and that he was thankful for the kind words. Swoon.

It’s been several years since that happened, and it’s a bit strange to think I’m approaching the age that Mr. B probably was when fate (or my guidance councilor) first thrust me into his classroom sophomore year. I haven’t Googled him because I don’t want to feel stalker-y, but I imagine that his life has changed more than a bit in that time, too. If I could send out that “missed connection” ad today, it would probably say much of the same as it did before, but I would also have to tell him thank you, for inspiring me to look for a man with similar qualities; intelligence, eloquence, and has the maturity to look beyond my outer shell and see me as capable adult woman.

Maybe not, it sounds a bit creepy.

by Erin Chase

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  1. Who’s the picture of??

  2. I was madly in love with my creative writing teacher. And, I always stalk the aisles of Powells looking for his books. I’ve only found one, but I look everytime, just in case. He left a profound effect on me, not just because he was SO HOT, but because he saw something in me that I didn’t even know was there, and I’ve always been thankful. And, okay, so maybe I called him Professor Sexy Sexy…

  3. I do internet stalk my old hot college English professor, but I applaud your self control! I took other courses that he taught even though they did not count for any credit and ended up learning about emerging areas of study that I never would have given a second thought. I’d like to say that is his legacy in my life but I still can’t get over how gorgeous he was :)

  4. Let Me See I have to say My Teacher crush was well Mr. Rogers~he was my math teacher, he was young for his age and very chilled Mellow Teacher, He funny and Smart and he had a surfer accent actually which just made him more attractive in my eyes, he love to listen to Jack Johnson and bob Marley and he plays the Acoustic Guitar, Me made me love being in his classroom and he actually made me tolerate math. I remember this one Rainy Day, we had a Rainy day Schedule and some kids in my class were selling candy to for fundraiser ( Remember those like Helen grace Chocolates LOL) well I had bough a Snicker bar and at the time was fortunate enough to be sitting in the front fow, he saw about to eat this sneaker and he said I think “Oh My god You have a sneaker”, So I wanted to be generous and nice so I gave him half of my sneakers bar, he thank me and said ” Man thank you dude, for sharing your sneaker” I think that’s what he said, its all fuzzy in my head but something along that line. that’s my fondest memory of him, and when he would play jack Johnson music while were doing math, He is the reason why I love Jack Johnson so so much~. Sigh Thoes were the days.

  5. I wish I had a Mister B when I was growing up! He sounds totally adorbs. :D

  6. As a soon to be teacher of French & Spanish, I hope I can inspire just one student and have a positive effect on them the way this teacher had for you. Thanks for sharing. Really enjoyed reading your post.

  7. Love it. Had a couple of these teachers… and yeah, that combination of giddiness and gratitude is a good one :)

  8. I had a teacher who was kinda like that. I can relate. :)

  9. i loved this!! [where the heck was the Mr. B in my life?? =]

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