I found out a couple of days ago that a favorite teacher of mine died last month. After hearing about it, I searched the web and found her obituary, but it is archived and I had to pay $1.25 to view it, so I can't link to it. I did find this tribute to her, though. I believe "pig" should be "pug;" one of the other things that the Google search turned up was a post she wrote on a dicussion board in 2003 about her dog.
Every semester, in my foundations class, I have the students discuss or write about the concept of mentors and role models, whether they have had one in school or college, and whether we should expect teachers to take on this responsibility, or if that is unfair. A lot of students remember some wonderful teacher and share a story about the impact that teacher had on them. Not as common, there are others who can't remember any teacher having such a significant role. But even the students who remember a great teacher will sometimes wonder about the large number of teachers they have encountered, and the fact that only a handful have been memorable in this way.
I wouldn't say this favorite teacher of mine was a role model, or even a mentor exactly. But I do remember that she was nice to everyone - including, and especially, the troubled students. She was a high school English teacher, and in my case, she really encouraged me to write. She always assigned a journal as an assignment in class; that has proved to be a valuable lifelong habit for me, and I require the students in my foundations class to keep one, too. Maybe I wouldn't be keeping this online journal if it wasn't for her. She wrote "keep writing!" in my high school yearbook. When I told her that I was going to go to Oneonta to college, she shared that Oneonta was her alma mater. She even wrote to me a few times when I was a freshman. Although I hadn't kept in touch with her in years, I think the world will be a little less bright with her gone.