Celebrities talk about their most influential teachers

Friday, May 11, 2012 - 1:34pm

During Teacher Appreciation week, the ladies of ABC shows "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal" spoke a little bit about the teachers that impacted their lives the most.

Chandra Wilson, who plays Dr. Miranda Bailey on "Grey's Anatomy", told CNN her favorite teacher taught her to believe in her abilities, while television writer and series creator, Shonda Rhimes, told CNN about a teacher who made her look forward to the future.

"Her name is Mrs. Hanks. She taught 5th grade," said Rhimes. "We watched Luke and Laura's wedding on 'General Hospital' in her classroom one day after school when I had to stay after school waiting for my mom to pick me up. We closed all of the blinds and watched Luke and Laura get married, which was very serious for me."

However, it wasn't the show that made Rhimes think about her future, it was her teacher's youthful nature and ability to make her students care.

"She was young, she was the first really young teacher that I had ever had -- one of the very few non-nuns that I and been taught by and there was something about her that made me feel like growing up was going to be exciting," said Rhimes, who attended a Catholic school. "I don't know what it was about her, but she was young enough to make learning fun, but she also made me feel like 'God, when I turn 18 things are going to get really good.' And she was really wonderful. I always wondered what happened to her."

"Scandal" lead actress Kerry Washington, who sits on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities and is excited about the Turnaround Arts Initiative, which promotes student involvement through the arts, said her favorite teacher was someone she'll also be appreciating this Sunday on Mother's Day.

"My mom is a retired professor of education, but she was a public school teacher in New York City for decades, transforming the lives of thousands of kids in New York City. Then she became a professor of education in New York and Lehman College and she's now retired, but sort of consulting. So I always feel like I had the benefit of one of the best minds in education at home on call 24/7."

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