Transformative Teachers

Teachers can have either a positive or negative impact on students


Liberty High School

Former Liberty teacher Kedi Ochs bonding with his former student over One Direction

A student’s bond with their teacher can either make or break their academic success. Research has shown that teacher quality has a larger impact on learning than any other factor, and students from Liberty have backed this up. Should a teacher’s only job be handing out papers and grading tests, or does their job also include being there for students?


Spanish teacher David McNair is one teacher who sees the importance of making connections with students in the classroom. McNair has been a teacher for 17 years and has experience in working well with kids. 

“I think that by building that relationship, you also build a comfort level. I want kids to be open around me and share with me, come to me if they need things,” said McNair. 


Emma Lanxon, sophomore, agrees that it’s important for teachers to connect with students as well. She has found that going to class is more enjoyable when she has a teacher who wants to be there for the students. “The most important quality that teachers can have in my opinion is to actively try to be connected to the students on a level that is beyond just learning the material,” said Lanxon. 


Teacher Mrs. Hughes with students (Iowa City Schools)

Mr. Ochs, former Liberty teacher, is one of the teachers who has demonstrated this quality. 

“He was incredibly kind, selfless, and hilarious. I looked forward to his class not just because of the class but because of him. He made everything more fun and was just a very bright light in my life,” said Lanxon. 


Unfortunately, Mr. Ochs moved to Colorado to be closer to his fiance’s family. While he isn’t here in person any longer, many students remember him for his humor and hallway dancing. 


Many people have had teachers who stuck out to them and made a difference in their lives, this includes teachers as well. For McNair, a teacher that he had in elementary school made him realize what he wanted to be. 

“The last teacher that I bonded with was my 5th grade teacher, and I remember her very well and I still talk to her to this day. That teacher meant a lot to me and I thought about her a lot, and I went into the profession because I wanted to be like her.”


Ms. Bryce, Liberty High school counselor, added that she had a rough childhood and had one teacher in particular that made an effort to show her love and comfort on hard days. “For me, it was life-changing,” Bryce said. 

While some teachers can have a positive impact on students, others can make learning more difficult when there’s not a connection. 

“I have had some teachers that I have never connected to. I notice that they are not outwardly kind and cheery. They were very serious and made rules that seemed to only make our lives more difficult. It made learning very unfun and I didn’t feel comfortable asking questions either,” said Lanxon. 


McNair shared his struggles in high school were due to teachers he didn’t bond with. When there is a teacher that is hard to connect with, it can make learning more difficult and less enjoyable. 


While there are a number of reasons why a student may want to drop a course, whether the content is too difficult or the workload is overwhelming, other reasons can be due to the teacher. Dropping classes has become a more regular occurrence for Liberty students this year. Students are heavily influenced on what classes they take because of the teacher.

Liberty Staff 2021 (Halverson Photography)

Although everyone has had their share of struggles with teachers, there are still teachers out there who are trying their best to make an impact on students, and doing so successfully.


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