Teacher Extraordinaire – Woman Extraordinaire

28 May

When we are in school, our teachers are usually part of our lives for a 10 month period.  That’s all. 10 months.  Sometimes we remember our teachers – things they said or did or stuff they taught us.  Sometimes we are glad to forget.

But every once in awhile, if you are very, very fortunate, a teacher like Fran Glowinski is part of your life.  And you are forever better because of it.

Fran was my 6th grade science teacher.  Yes, that was more than 40 years ago.  I am still benefiting from her wisdom and enthusiasm.  I was a quiet girl – with few friends and fewer aspirations.  Fran came bounding into my life and while she was petite, she was a giant in my eyes.  Her love for life and science was contagious.


  Nancy in 6th grade

She taught about the moon through “Where is the Moon?” and chemistry through a “Mystery Powders” unit.  She taught me that science was to be explored and investigated and recorded and treasured.  Kind of like life.  She planted a seed in my brain – a seed that would bloom into an insatiable desire for knowledge, a deep love of science and a need to be an educator.

But I didn’t know that then.  All I knew was that she was fun, and nice. A nun who did not wear a regular habit. (Nuns have HAIR!)  She played volleyball and was the cheer coach and grabbed life with both hands a wrung as much enjoyment out of it as she could. 

All these years later, I am a teacher myself. Several years ago I found Fran on Facebook.  We rekindled our friendship over a 6 hour lunch.  She’s still feisty and joy-filled.  She still loves life.  She still is intensely curious and driven.  And, because of her, so am I.


Nancy and Fran, 2012

The seed that she planted all those years ago has brought much fruit.  I was an Industrial chemist for a bit and for the last 26 years I have been an educator.  Using Fran as a model, I have planted seeds in my students, many of whom are now educators themselves. I’ve worked with thousands of students in person and hundreds of thousands through my You Tube channel.  Every one of them benefits from Fran being an amazing educator.

Thanks, Fran, for teaching me to love science, and to love life, and for teaching me to pass it on to my students.  We, each and every one of us, are all better people because you were in the life of one little girl for 10 months.  And you made a difference.  Thank you Fran.


Fran, today

One Response to “Teacher Extraordinaire – Woman Extraordinaire”

  1. Suzanne Cachat MD May 29, 2014 at 3:44 PM #

    Thank you Nancy for your point on remembrance of Fran Glowinski.I was fortunate to know her at Loyola Chicago and recently saw her at her 50th celebration as a Wheaton Franciscan. She is a wonderful nurturing person in so many ways and I would not be a physician or theologian without her influence

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