Great Teacher, Inside And Out

Hannah Storm's favorite teacher has been at the same school for almost four decades.

So it wasn't hard to find David Drake when The Early Show tracked him down for the "My Favorite Teacher" series.

And the reunion reminded Storm that he was her favorite for what he taught her, inside the classroom and out.

Storm's family moved around a lot when she was growing up. By the time she got to 10th grade, she had attended five different schools.

In the middle of high school, they moved again, to Atlanta, where Storm began her junior year at Westminster Schools.

"I was just going through that awkward time of high school and finding myself," Storm recalls, "and I got thrown into a new situation and it ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to me."

By her senior year, Storm was starting to come into her own. She was in school plays, became the mascot (a wildcat), and met the teacher who would quickly become her favorite.

"She was a good student," says Drake, who teaches history. "Not one who tried to get by on personality alone. But actually, who thought about the issues and worked very hard to put that on paper. And so, she was an outstanding student."

"I still love, because of you, historical fiction," Storm tells Drake, "when I go pick up a novel. And then in college, you probably don't know this, but I majored in international government."

Her favorite thing to talk about is politics and government and world events, she says and tells Drake, "And I know a lot of that is because of you."

"Well, that's good," Drake responds. "That's what I want to hear. Because that's my goal."

Storm says the way Drake treated students made the young people feel validated.

"Because you were a teacher and there were things that went on in the classroom," she says, "and yes, we learned a lot. But, also just the fact that you were so interested in me and other students outside of the classroom - that made you feel-- it made you feel important.

"I mean, it was a really cool thing, to be able to joke around with a teacher."

Teaching always extends beyond the classroom, Drake says. "If I limited what I did to the classroom, I wouldn't be a very good teacher. So, I try to attend every - well, I can't attend every, it's too big a school - but I try to attend as many events that my kids are involved in as I can.

"I tell them when they leave here, that - well, your obligation to Westminster's over. But the obligation to you doesn't end. If you need help, you call me at any time. Because, we bonded, hopefully."

Storm says she had such good memories of Drake's classroom, she decided to sit through his class again. And "it was good to see that after 37 years of teaching, Mr. Drake is still bonding with his students."

Cyurrent student Eliza Coleman says, "He's sharing all of the things he has gained and you can tell that he wants us to understand this and he has such a passion for it."

"Sitting (again) in his classroom," Storm says, "now I know why I still read historical fiction. I know why I love politics. I know why I majored in government. It just made me fall in love with school all over again. …Mr. Drake reminded me about why I really love learning."

It's a feeling that isn't lost on Drake: "While that's my dream, to have that kind of impact on everybody, I'm a realist and know that I don't.

"You never know what the seeds are going to do. Because they always grow after they leave you."
  • Brian Dakss

Comments