To My Former Teachers,
This Teacher Appreciation Week, it is important that I stop and think of you and all you did to get me where I am today. I'm sure I didn't fully appreciate you when I was your student, but now that I'm (just a little) older and (hopefully a lot) wiser, I want you to know that I think of you often and truly do appreciate your efforts.
To Ms. Mullen-Teofilo: I was lucky enough to have you as my teacher for three years in a row. You were the kind of teacher that I always wanted to be. You shared your love of Paddington the Bear and Mickey Mouse with all of us and even welcomed the whole class into your home for dinner. You taught me long division, how to read a newspaper, and how to write a play. We took a trip to Hawaii by turning our classroom into a mock airplane at the end of one of our science units. You were lightyears ahead of your time. You are the reason I am a teacher today.
To Ms. Seefeldt: I don't think I would have made it through high school without you. You counseled me through a very bad break up with my first boyfriend and were always there whether I needed an open ear, an open mind, or open arms.
To Mr. Foss & Mr. McNally: As my high school English teachers, you infused me with a love of all things literacy. You taught me to write, to think critically, and to not take life so seriously. We read Shakespeare and Beowulf together and thought about qualities that a modern day Renaissance Man would possess. You are the reasons I majored in English once I went to college. (I'm also really sorry I gave you a hard time when you wanted me to go out for the girls' golf team. To this day, I still don't know how to golf, but I sure wish I had let you teach me.)
To Dr. Corey Thompson: As I was preparing to enter the classroom, you taught me that classroom management doesn't have to be about stoplights and "go move your clip," but rather about culture and community. I learned that "Kids don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care" and "It's your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude." You had us read Robert Marzano and Alfie Kohn to show us sides we had never considered. Erin Gruwell and her Freedom Writers taught me about the power writing has to connect us to each other. Later, your undergrad students became pen pals with my 4th graders to get their advice on how to be a good teacher. Turns out, they never even needed to ask my kids -- They could learn just from watching you.
So to all my former teachers, whether you are mentioned here by name or not, I want to thank you. I stand on the shoulders of giants in my classroom every day, having learned from the best of the best so that I can be my best. For that, you have my deepest gratitude.