Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Week

I will be brutally honest.. I love teacher appreciation week.  It's nice to get some recognition that may not happen during the rest of the year.  Those little notes that kids give you thanking you are always something to treasure.

But this is my shout-out to a couple teachers who have played a HUGE role in where I am today.

Let's start back in elementary school.  This teacher's name was Mrs. M (unfortunately, she has since passed away).  I went to a rather small, rural elementary school.  When I was in first grade, there were two full first grade classes, two full second grade classes, and one split first/second.  I was shafted with the split (Mrs. M taught this split).  However, instead of saying shafted, I should say gifted.  I was always a pretty good student anyway and often finished my work early.  Because of it, I followed the second graders a bit. 

Mrs. M was one of those teachers that you knew loved her job.  She did everything she could to make it fun.  We played games, she gave out prizes for reading and math, she always pushed me to do more.  And I did.  The following year, there were no splits, and when I was in second grade, I was in Mrs. M's class again! 

Halfway through the year, it was clear that I was bored.  I had more or less learned all of this the year before and wasn't being challenged enough.  Mrs. M suggested I be bumped up to third grade halfway through the year.  After lots of testing and a school board vote, it was approved.

It may not seem like THAT much of a life-altering thing, but it was.  Moving ahead a grade meant I was 17 when I graduated from high school.  Because I was young, that was one of the major reasons I chose to do a year abroad.  I doubt I ever would have chosen to do so had I not skipped a grade.  Because this teacher believed in me, my world was changed forever.

I kept in contact with her growing up via letters and the occasional visit, and she even came to my high school graduation party (even though we had moved 2 1/2 hours away when I was in 5th grade).  She passed away when I was in France, after a long battle with cancer.  I never knew she was sick...I'm guessing that's why she made such an effort to come to my graduation party.

The other teacher I want to shout out to is Mrs. G.  She was never "technically" my teacher, but she was the teacher who was my first cooperating teacher during student teaching.  So many of my organizational techniques and fun ideas came from my time with her.  She is the most organized teacher I have ever met.  And she runs a class that students LOVE to be in.  Even French 3 kids are speaking almost all French.  Kids come to class prepared and ready to learn.  Even in the hallways, they speak French.  When I think about the kind of classroom I want to have some day, the type of French teacher I strive to be, I think of her.

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