Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Teacher Story

I am linking up with Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes to share my teacher story...

Everyone has that one teacher that they will never forget. The teacher that put a smile on your face, made you feel great every day, helped you succeed and become who you are today. Me... I have an elementary school career's worth... except 1. I can tell you my teachers from grades 1-5. I would know them if I saw them. But me... I have two of those stupendous teachers. They are 75% of the reason I am a teacher today.

My first grade teacher was my hero (and at the age of 6 I don't think most kids say their teacher is their hero). But she was. I was new to the school after a very serious {bus driver wouldn't let me off the bus and my family thought I was kidnapped} incident. This teacher was AMAZING. Do I remember anything I learned in 1st grade? Not a clue. Do I remember her teaching style. Not at all. But what I do remember is that she had the most amazing heart and just cared so much for her students. And...she loved Chip and Dale.

I went on through elementary school- loving my second grade and fourth grade teachers (we will get back to my third grade teacher at a later point) and then I got to fifth grade. Once again I had a teacher as a hero. This woman... words can't describe her. She did everything and anything to help us learn. Again, do I remember what we learned? Not at all. But I very vividly remember our classroom, our coatroom even, and her purple people eater teacher's pet (because no STUDENT was the teacher's pet).

When I was in college I took a course that brought me back to my elementary school to work with some of the students. I honestly took the course because I knew that was the placement it put you in. By this time, my elementary school was nothing to be proud of (it was a good school when I was younger, but we all know how neighborhoods change). But to me, that school building, that was the reason I was going to school to become a teacher (after a short stint going for communications... more on that later too). Now, of all my 5 teachers I had there, only 1 still worked there. My first grade teacher. I visited, it was great. But in all honesty, my heart broke that my fifth grade teacher was no longer there. I knew she was long retired. But why did my heart break? Well, you see... my first year in college I was going for communications. I was off the teaching path and just wanted something else. I realized that path wasn't for me and that deep down all I wanted to do was teach. So switch my major I did. And then a year later, I transferred to a college back home. Still in the teaching program, I started to struggle with if I was making the right choice. I felt like I couldn't do it. I didn't know if I would be good at it. And I just felt like maybe seeing the people that inspired me, it might light the fire under me. I needed to see her. And then one day, here I am working with my kids and in walks my fifth grade teacher. To say I was happy would be an understatement. And do you know what... she saw MY name on the sign in sheet (she was coming to volunteer) and hunted ME down! 11 years after I had last seen her. Do you know how amazing that felt to me? And her words (though I don't remember them now) let me know that yes, I was making the right decision. Believe it or not, I recently looked up her address and had half a mind to write her an old fashioned- stick it in the mail with a stamp and everything- letter. And I still might. Because she is the reason I stuck it out.

Now I said those two teachers made up 75% of the reason I teach. So where is the other 25% you might wonder? Remember I said I would get back to my third grade teacher... well here she is. She is the one teacher that ruins school for some kids. Made me cry. Changed who I am. Just by being in her class, I changed... and not for the better. In that one year, I went from being extremely outgoing to completely closed off and shy because she allowed a boy to make fun of me for getting an answer wrong (I was smart, getting it wrong was bad enough to me... for him to make fun of me and nothing happen... it killed my spirit). In that same year, she called me brain dead. I had no idea what this meant... but I tell ya when I asked my parents and told them she called me that... my mom went right up to our over 6foot Native American principal and let him hear a piece of her mind. So do I hate the woman? Not really. I did when I was a kid. And I hate that I am so shy- that part of me has never changed and never will. But if it weren't for her, I may not have had that extra 25% push to teach... to be better than she was. And anytime I get fed up with one of my kids, I stop and think about her. Because really... I don't want to be that teacher. I want to be the hero teacher. And there are days I have to remind myself of that because I do get mad. But I can not be that teacher.

So what is your teacher story? Link up and share!


  1. Oh my goodness, were we in the same 3rd grade class?!? It is so scary how much power crummy teachers have! I'm sorry for your experience but at least you are making the most of it! Thanks for sharing your story. Also, I am your newest follower and also teach 3rd grade, so check out my blog if you get a chance.

    :) Nicole
    Tadpole Tidbits

  2. Your story breaks my heart, yet warms it at the same time! Terrible teachers are unfortunate and, of course, are everywhere. Though we can't change the awful teachers, we can help work to help make a difference in the students' lives that cross our paths. Thanks SO much for linking up and sharing!

    Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes

  3. My brother had that third grade teacher... Mrs. Smith... My mother almost came to blows with her once. Even though I never had a teacher like that, I know what you mean. My brother was undiagnosed ADHD (as it didn't really 'exist' at the time) and her complete callousness towards him made me want to be the teaher that pushes kids like him to find what they're good at and support them 100%. This will be my first official year teaching third and I hope to live up to that....


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