This is the second in a series of posts that I thank some of those teachers in my life that have influenced me. You can read the first one here.
I will admit that I was shy. I was so afraid to talk to my teacher that I didn’t give her my milk money. This went on for weeks. It was finally discovered when Sr. Helen Ann cleaned out my desk before Parent/Teacher conferences. My parents described me as a quiet observer. Another example is that I was that I really wanted chocolate milk for snack, but I didn’t say anything so white milk was brought for me instead because I didn’t say anything. I still took the chocolate milk so needless to say I got in trouble.
I am still shy. I get nervous in new situations. This has not stopped me from doing some pretty brave things. (Moving to Houston & Davenport without knowing anyone.) I believe it is because the teachers I had during my early years.
What did those teachers do? What characteristics did these teachers possess?
- Sense of Warmth I think of my preschool teacher, even though her name escapes me, and I still feel calm and cared for. She is just one of my teachers that made me feel that way.
- They encouraged. I think of Sister Jean who encouraged me to raise my hand. I even remember her calling me the walking dictionary. Sister Charlene let me write a play for the class to perform. I attempted things, but I knew that I would not disappoint my teachers if I failed.
- They told stories of success. I feel like I can tell Warren Buffet’s story because my teachers often told his story. He grew up nearby before he became the Oracle of Omaha. The theme of these stories were “Work hard and you too can be wildly successful.”
- They saw me for who I am and who I can be. Yes, I was the quiet, good girl. I had great grades and did well in school. I had amazing parents. It would have been easy not to worry about me when other students had needs, but those teachers reached out and engaged me.
As I began my teaching career and even now, I try to do these things. I reach out to all students. I was heart-broken today because I felt like I knew every student in the school and a girl came to me with a concern. I asked her when she came to Monroe. She calmly told me she has been here all year. I apologized that I did not know her. It was a reminder that as a SAM, I need to see all students not just the students in crisis. I hope that I help create some brave adults who are not afraid to take risks just like my elementary school teachers.
- Sister Helen Ann
- Sister Jean
- Mrs. Miles
- Sister Charlene
- Mrs. Lily