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Grammar Girl on How Teachers Have Inspired Her

Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girls talks about one of her favorite teachers, Mrs. Ross.


Teachers were celebrities in my family. For example, when I was in junior high, someone new moved in across the street, and my mom told me in an awe-filled whisper, “He’s a…teacher.”

Clearly, our neighborhood was on the way up.

Education was everything, and I’m actually terrible at household chores because my parents told me it was my job to do well in school, not to iron or cook or mow.

A lifelong love of learning

I was lucky to have fabulous teachers from kindergarten through college who only added to my love of reading, writing, and learning. Learning something new and sharing it with others fills me with excitement—it makes my day—and I’m lucky again to be able to do that as an actual job through my Grammar Girl podcast.

I’ve been producing a weekly show about the English language for 15 years with my partners at Quick and Dirty Tips, and with that as a blasting off point, I also have a large website, email newsletter, games, online courses, and seven books.

A teacher who made a difference

So when it was time to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the podcast, I thought about ways I could give back, and one of the people my memories settled on was Hazel Ross, one of my high school English teachers.

Mrs. Ross taught me how to write a paper.

More importantly, she taught me how to properly do research—and track it—for that paper. We used index cards to keep track of our sources, and later, after trying digital methods for my second Grammar Girl book, I went back to using those old-school index cards Mrs. Ross had made me respect.

Most importantly, Mrs. Ross taught me about a bigger world because she organized summer trips for students to visit the U.K., and by some miracle I still don’t understand, I was able to go. We had readings ahead of time about all the historical sites we would see, and once there, we saw so many towns and cathedrals it was a blur—but it was also life changing.

A year of intense challenges

While pondering the anniversary, I also thought about classroom teachers today and how inspiring they’ve been. No matter what new challenges were thrown in their way over the last 18 months, teachers showed up for students and made the best of it. It’s been hard, but no matter what, they were always thinking about how to make it better for their kids.

A way to support teachers

That’s why I love DonorsChoose: because I trust teachers to tell me what their students need to succeed.

I love the filters that let me find a teacher in my hometown or in a town struck by natural disaster, a teacher at a school that serves low-income students, a teacher who specifically wants books, and more. Whatever type of classroom project inspires you, you can find it here.

And I'm so grateful that DonorsChoose helped me celebrate the podcast anniversary in a meaningful way. With the help of Grammar Girl fans and my matching funds, we were able to contribute to 225 projects and bring $15,000 worth of teacher projects to life in less than 24 hours.

Now, to keep the goodness going, I direct you to the Grammar Girl giving page, where you can browse projects that inspired me and find a project that inspires you!

A new goal for Grammar Girl

Imagine a teacher getting a notification that someone has donated to the project. Imagine a teacher getting a notification that the entire project has been funded.

As they now face the new school year, teachers need all the support we can give them. Let’s raise $15,000 dollars more. Visit the Grammar Girl giving page today.

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