I was blessed with a number of good teachers but my absolute favorite, the one I wanted to be like, was Rick Wormeli (6 grade, Elementary school). He was just made of teaching awesome.
He had so much energy and creativity. I wish I could (have been) be a teacher like that. He was not only good at actually presenting the material but also great at keeping our interest. Well, mine anyway, I liked school, but I don't remember lots of discipline problems that would suggest bored students. Where to start?
At the beginning of the year he had us all lay down on the floor and lead us through a relaxation technique. Then he basically started with the Big Bang and drew, with his words, the universe up to the point where our history studies would start (Ancient Greece, I think). It was pretty cool.
One day when it had snowed and no one else was going out for recess (yes, we had recess in the 6th grade), he took us out and we played follow the leader. We were trying to make as few footsteps in the snow as possible, but Mr. Wormeli is about 6'3" so it was hard. At one point he was taking these big leapy-steps, where his footprints were probably 6 feet apart. Behind him there's a line of twenty or so kids trying to jump off one foot and land on one foot who are a foot to foot and a half shorter.
He separated a few of us out who were very good at math and made us the Mach I group. We went through the text book in one semester. The second semester we were Mach II and moved into an 8th grade book (he couldn't find a 7th grade one); the rest of the class became Mach I. Kids who weren't good at math got extra help but were never singled out. One day, the 3 or 4 of us got to go out and measure the flag pole and some other tall things in the school yard using the length of the shadows.
He was Cupid, at least a few years, and delivered the Valentine's candy or cards or whatever it was. (It was a fund raiser for someone, like carnations in high school.) I remember my 3rd grade year, in particular. He wore pink tights and a diaper like thing, wings if I remember correctly, and carriered a toy bow and arrow. My 3rd grade teacher was short (I was as tall as Ms. Aleanza, I was 8.) and he gave her a peck on the cheek. It was quite scandalous.
He read to us. He read "Flowers for Algernon" to us and several others. He did voices. With the help of the teacher intern and, maybe, the reading specialist at our school Rick had us pick two of three books to read and we "studied" them in groups. For "Tuck Everlasting" we decorated t-shirts to show important things from the story. (Along with more traditional book report type activities.) I also read a book about a girl and her brother who run away to an art museum. Rick took several of us to one of the art museums after we finished the book.
He killed the meal worms that we were suppose to do something with for science. (Left them in the box forever) He let me set up an experiment in the classroom on dissolution of limestone by acidic water.
I'll stop rambling on about 6th grade now. Suffice it to say that Rick was the only Elementary teacher I ever went back to talk to. I wish I could thank him now.
Oh, wait one last thing - I was sworn to secrecy in 6th grade but since he doesn't appear to be teaching anymore I think it is safe to let his secret identity be known. Mr. Wormeli was RIF-man.