The impact of one teacher

Decades past his retirement, my junior high English teacher, Mr. Nosky (who passed last week), still held the title as “The Best” teacher. He taught some 30 years at Jasper Central School in New York. After he entered a nursing home, a former student organized the “Friends of Mr. Nosky” Facebook page where former students greeted him.

“As you know he does not touch a computer. So I showed him ‘Friends of Mr. Nosky.’ He was overwhelmed,” wrote Gary Swan.

“I talked with Mr. Nosky about using email to keep in contact. He made it very clear that email was not comparable to writing letters. Letters were personal and showed the receiver that you cared about them,” another wrote. Mr. Nosky taught every student how to write a proper letter and insisted they send one.

“I will admit that Mr. Nosky was not my favorite teacher while I was one of his students. English was my least favorite class. I hated to read (still do), but his teaching style made a profound effect on me as an adult. His firm but caring way in class and his presence after we moved on continued to teach us. I always looked forward to seeing him when I was home,” Mike Palmiter wrote.

“As a funeral director serving many Jasper area families, it was very common to see Jim attend visitation and services for family members of former students. His love and respect for others can be a life lesson for us all,” Rick Andrews said.

“What a gentleman, teacher and friend! Mr. Nosky, you were a friend and mentor to me. I don’t think anybody writes better cursive than you or had better penmanship,” Robert DeVore said. 

“You showed me English is fun. You showed me that reading was an adventure in the making. I enjoyed the stories about my uncles and aunts that you had before me,” said Wanda Leach Simmons.

“I came to Jasper as a rebellious brat. Mr. Nosky had his work cut out, but with a kind and gentle approach he changed me from a brat who refused to do work, into a straight A student of the week. Once again I was uprooted, but I never forgot  Mr. Nosky. Years later I returned, married, and he taught three of my four kids before he retired. All my kids were honor students. My husband was also his student. We all appreciated his impact in our lives,” an anonymous poster wrote.

“I asked if he remembered coming over to my farm to help put up some small square bales of hay. He said, “Yes, and you still owe me breakfast!” I had 1,000 bales for that day and 1,000 for the next. The forecast after that was steady rain for three days. My mom was working at the school. She called Mr. Nosky. My dad always helped on a day like that, but I could not believe my eyes when Mr. Nosky pulled in. I started baling before the dew was off and did not stop at all until it started to pour at about 5 p.m. We put up 2,000 bales that day. The last load got rained on. The rain did not stop for three days. When I came down out of the field Mr. Nosky and Dad came out of the barn. His hands had blistered. The blisters had broken, so they were bleeding. Thanks to Mr. Nosky and Dad it got done! He would take no pay but said, ‘you owe me a breakfast!’”’ recalled Dana Lewis.

“I am a teacher because of wonderful teachers like Mr. Nosky,” testified Janene Reynolds. 

Brenda Drake summarized him best, “Mr. Nosky was not only a good teacher, but a much-respected and caring man who became a part of the community.” 

As the school year ends, I say thank you to all the teachers, like Mr. Nosky, who show up every day. You do make a difference for your students and community.