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The Teachers Who Made Me

  • 3 Min Read

For National Teacher Appreciation Day, D2L’s CEO John Baker thanks the teachers who have inspired and helped shape who he is today.

If we’re asked, many of us can recall that one teacher. Someone who made a real difference in our lives and inspired us to become the person they knew we were capable of being. Whoever it was, our lives wouldn’t be the same without them.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many amazing teachers throughout the world and on my own educational journey. Let me tell you about a few who have inspired me to achieve more in my life.

Ed Jernigan: one of my Systems Design Engineering professors who was relentless in building a better university experience for students to help them become world-class thinkers, problems solvers, and leaders. John Smallwood: A family friend that taught me the value of “feedforward” feedback in helping students grow and develop. Jaclyn Broadbent: a professor who has been committed to personalizing learning at scale to deliver better and better results for students. His Excellency David Johnston: my past university president, who believed in my potential before I hired my first employee. And the late Virginia Gray: my first big client, who taught me the value of giving back to the next generation of students in need.

While there have been many others, the most important teachers in my life have been my parents. My mom received the key to our town for her dedication to the community and students, and my father has inspired thousands of students to become doctors, educators, engineers, and creative contributors to our world. It was their passion for helping students that inspired me to start a company dedicated to leveraging technology to help improve the educational experience for millions of people around the world.

A teacher a­ffects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
– 19th Century Educator, Henry Adams

This Henry Adams quote has always inspired me to remember the lasting impact educators have on the lives of this generation of students and the impact that will carry forward to the next. As someone who has spent the last seventeen years on the leading edge of learning technology, I have seen firsthand what teachers, professors, and academics at all levels of education can do when they have the right tools and support.

Every teacher has unique strategies to engage and inspire learners. And every learner is unique. We need to remember that if we are going to have a lasting impact on the quality of education around the world, we need to continually strive to improve the educational experience each and every day.

On behalf of everyone at D2L, we would like to celebrate the eff­orts of teachers around the world who inspire their students every day. I hope that you will join us and take the time to #ThankATeacher who made a real di­fference in your life.

Here are a few examples of teachers who are changing the education game to be the best possible teachers for their students:


Additional Resources:

  • Download the Innovation in Teaching Booklet  – the latest publication from Inside Higher Ed on what innovative teachers from around the world are doing for their students.
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