It’s teacher appreciation week in most of the United States, and since I think a great deal about the teachers I have had over the years, I decided to try to write about some of them this week. By no means is this a comprehensive list. But I continue my posts with one of the ones who had made an impact on my life.
Thanks to my mom always trying to teach me things and instilling a love of learning within me, I have always been told I am kind of intelligent. I ask questions, but I also try to figure things out on my own. So schoolwork was an extension of that.
I had learned to read by the age of four years old. I could write somewhat in cursive by first grade, thanks to older friends who had taught me. I also often finished my schoolwork fast because it came easy to me.
Somewhere in my early years, I had been tested to skip a grade at one school, but by the time the results came of that test, we had moved because of my dad’s career. Schools were slow then with getting records from other states and other schools, so I never advanced a grade, nor was I in the gifted and talented program like my younger siblings even though I probably should have been. My mom sometimes would grumble about it.
In the midst of my fourth grade year, I switched schools yet again, this time to the school district I would remain in for the rest of my public school career. My dad had been recently honorably discharged from the USMC, so we had to move from the base that we were living at to a rented home near where my mom worked. With that came a new school, the local one about a half a mile down the road that I often walked to. With that came a new teacher as well.
Mrs. Jones was her name. She took me under her wing like every teacher I had had done before. Like every new teacher I had, she started to see what I was capable of doing through some tests. And she found within me a spark of something she wanted to help grow.
She was, perhaps, the first teacher to ever really encourage me to write. Others earlier in my years may have also done so, but she was the first I can really remember encouraging that spark. She was the one who left that impression on me.
Because I always finished my work fast, I sometimes (well, more often than I want to admit) was the first one done with assignments. While Mrs. Jones had other tasks I could complete, she decided, likely with the blessing of my mom, to encourage my creative streak and my bookworm tendencies.
I was allowed to go often to the library at the school. I remember I was in there so much that I had practically devoured every single book that interested me and even some that hadn’t. I often helped to shelve books and give recommendations on books I had read. I also remember trying out a couple of new computer programs and giving my opinion on them before they would appear in the school’s media center and computer lab for others to use. I got such a thrill when I saw a new floppy disc for me to use.
I was also encouraged to write my own works.
Mrs. Jones would ask me what I enjoyed about a particular book I read. Why was it so amusing? What characters did it have and what were they like? How did the story move along? What was it about the ending that made it so awesome?
I didn’t realize it then that she was setting the base work for me to start thinking about my own writings. I didn’t realize she was getting me to start structuring a story. All I saw was a teacher interested in what I had to say. I saw a grown-up who was encouraging me to think critically. I had another person who believed in what I was capable of doing.
Many of the stories I wrote then she never graded and I doubt any of them survive these days. I know it was often extra work she came up with for me to do because I was always ahead of my peers in getting work done, but I didn’t mind. I loved writing the stories and even drawing illustrations for them, though my drawings were terrible.
More importantly, I saw a teacher who took a ten year old girl’s love of writing and showed her that she could likely become a great writer, if she kept at it. And for that, I will be forever grateful.
She also instilled a love for geography in me. Maybe, one day, I will tell that story.
The world needs teachers. They need the type of people who come along and help others out. They are the ones who help encourage children to seek out their dreams.
Teachers, stay magical. Keep writing your stories. I am glad I had many who helped write mine.
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