How a teacher’s appraisal makes or breaks

4 min readJul 15, 2020

“Never underestimate the potential power of a teacher’s appraisal to make or break a student’s trajectory in life.” Franco Cianflone

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“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” — William Arthur Ward

In my junior year of high school, I was enrolled in a chemistry class with Mr. B. The class was a prerequisite for the upcoming SAT exam.

At the time, I was more interested in how harmonies, notes, and intervals create great music instead of the periodic table.

Mr. B’s method of motivating students was negativity. As a result, the students gave him the nickname of Mr. B, a.k.a. bulldog.

On one occasion and in front of the entire class, he said, “There is an excellent university . . . I believe it’s the University of New Mexico. They have a great, four-year, basket-weaving program, and you all should take it.”

The next day, I approached Mr. B in the hallway and said, “Can I ask you a question?”

He replied, “What is it? Hurry up as I am late for lunch.”

I quickly asked, “Mr. B, do you really like teaching?”

He replied, “What kind of question is that to ask your chemistry teacher? It’s a job. Now, go along.”

Mr. B was probably a decent guy however he appeared to dislike his job and might be classified as a teller teacher. In any event, blessings and goodwill to Mr. B wherever he is.

Four years later, with my teaching certificate and degree in hand, I was at the same school where Mr. B was still teaching.

I was shocked to see Mr. B as he had become seriously overweight and had aged considerably. It’s funny how stress and negativity can take its toll on a person.

Mr. B sat down at the same staff room table, and asked,
“Are you new here?”

I replied, “Yes sir and I’m excited and ready for action.”

His reply was, “Sure, just wait until you’re in the saddle as long as I’ve been.”

He continued, “You look familiar. Were you ever in one of my classes?”

“Yes I was”, I replied.

I was in the class when you said to the entire class that there was an excellent university where they have a great, four-year, basket-weaving program, and that we should all take it.

After this, there was a dead silence in the staff room.

Poetic justice?

Thank God for Mrs. D that taught a psychology class that same year and said that we can be or do anything in life if we put our minds to it.

Why this story?

Never underestimate the potential power of a teacher’s appraisal to make or break a student’s trajectory in life.

Thank you to all the great teachers that continue to inspire young people all over.

We salute you.

Carpe Momentum.

Franco Cianflone


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Learning & Development Specialist, Author, musician, composer FRANCO CIANFLONE B.S. Ed. M. Ed. CS IACS MENTAL TOUGHNESS FOR LIFE PUBLICATION (USA) c2007