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These Iconic Teachers Remind Us That Teachers Don’t Just Teach, They Change Lives

Everyone knows teachers are important because they help us learn in school. But the worth of teachers is more than the academic knowledge they impart to pupils and students. Teachers change the world by encouraging and motivating millions of people to become better people. They pass important principles to their students even when they don’t realize it. Here are five teachers who changed lives in history.

Anne Sullivan

Anne Sullivan learned to read and write at a school for the blind as she was partially sighted. However, this didn’t stop her from being an exceptional teacher. The successful feat of teaching a deaf-blind student, Helen Keller, who became a lecturer and author, made Anne a star.

Courtesy: Gaston Gazette

She taught Helen the word ‘water’ by tracing the letters on one of her hands while running water on the other hand. In six months, she had taught Helen over 550 words. She spelled out lectures to Helen throughout college, resulting in Helen being the first deaf-blind person to graduate college in the US.

Kakenya Ntaiya

Dr. Katenya Ntaiya is an advocate for female education who founded the Katenya Center of Excellence boarding school for girls in her hometown in Kenya. Katenya’s story started with her negotiating with her father to go through FGM (female genital mutilation) only if she could go to high school.

Courtesy: TED

Having become a trained teacher, Katenya founded a girls’ school to educate girls who had no access to education due to poverty. The school also brought about reforms concerning child marriage and FGM. In the first years, all students of her school proceeded to get higher education.

Hanan Al Hroub

Hanan Al Hroub had a first-hand experience of violence, and she committed herself to being anti-violence as a teacher. When soldiers shot at her children on their way from school, which began to affect their behavior, Hanad decided to be a teacher.

Courtesy: Pinterest

She brought about a unique approach to shun violence in the classroom by encouraging students to learn, work, and play together. Hanan spread the message that knowledge and education is the only weapon. Her methods spread worldwide, and she won the Global Teacher Prize in 2016.

Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington was born enslaved in Virginia in 1856. Although he was nine years old after emancipation, he couldn’t attend school because he had to work and support his family. When he started schooling at age 16, he funded himself by working as a janitor and walked 200 miles to school.

Courtesy: AAIHS

He taught in his hometown and became the first leader of Tuskegee University, Alabama. He gave several public speeches based on his belief that education would help Blacks attain equality in the US. Through his advocacy efforts, 5,000 schools were built for Blacks in the South.

Marva Collins

Marva Collins worked as a substitute teacher for 14 years before deciding to start a school on her own. She noticed that African-American students didn’t have enough opportunities, which moved her to open the Westside Preparatory School in 1975.

Courtesy: Chicago Tribune

Located on the second floor of her home, Marva’s school helped students learn by focusing on math, phonics, and reading. The school successfully helped students who were marginalized graduate. Her teaching method, later called the Collins Method, gained global recognition.

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