I'm not really sure who helped me most when it comes to my writing. My parents have always been instrumental in motivating me and teaching me to think outside the box. My environment is constantly changing, but all the while allowing me to learn from new people, places, and things. My friends are pretty cool and they allow me to be myself. My love is a pretty awesome guy and loves all of my personas. Things and people can inspire me, but it takes a special person to teach me.
It took special people to teach me and keep me on my toes from K - 12 and beyond. Those people, ladies and gentlemen, are some MVPs. Let me introduce them to you.
In Kindergarten, I had a really awesome teacher name Mrs. Oxendine. Note, that is no longer her last name, but that is how I knew her. Her assistant was Mrs. Harrill. It wasn't my first school experience because I had been in Pre-K. However, I would like to think this started the foundation to who I am today. Mrs. Kellett (formerly Mrs. O) saw something in me and allowed me to join a 1st grade class for math. Apparently, kindergrade math was too boring for me. I had no clue the teacher she sent me to would end up being my first grade teacher.
In first grade, my teacher was Mrs. Caviness. Her assistant was another Mrs. Harrill. She saw potential in me when the former Mrs. O sent me to her class for math. However, when I was officially in her class, she helped me with a little something called identity. I remember I had to draw a portrait of myself. Well, I decided to use a black crayon instead of a crayon closer to my complexion. She made me do it over, but before I did, we had a little chat. Yes, my school forms said black, but that wasn't my actual color. By the way, she would be the only black teacher I had until high school.
Second grade was the classroom of Mrs. Spect, with her assistant Mrs. Hovis. Honestly, my memory of my relationships with my teachers are foggy for this year. Probably because my body was growing in ways I didn't understand. I totally skipped the training bra and had to get a regular bra. A girl in my class told me I had big thighs. I was growing, but it was awkward. That's what I remember from second grade.
In third grade, I was the math wiz. Seriously, my teacher Mrs. Horne and her assistant Mrs. Long allowed me to help tutor other students in the class. I always made 100 on my multiplication tests, except when it came to 7 x 8. For some reason, I thought it was 54, but I'm doing better with that now. I better be doing better since I'm a hydraulic design engineer by day. I think them allowing me to tutor helped me to realize how much I enjoyed helping people. It was fun to me and I don't think I've ever lost that passion.
Time to move on to the single teacher years! In fourth grade, my teacher was Mrs. Self. She was pretty cool. However, I have a weird memory from her class. She asked, What does state mean in this sentence - the person was in a terrible state? I knew the answer and I raised my hand, but she wouldn't let me answer. On the other hand, she looked at me and smiled and nodded her head in approval. I knew she knew I knew and that was all that really mattered to me. In her own way, she taught me to be smart, but never make people feel dumb and I have never forgotten the lesson. In fact, I cannot stand to see people talk down to people and hurt them in that way.
Fifth grade was Mrs. Park. Oh, Mrs. Park!!! She got me in this class. I had to do an assignment using 5 vocabulary words. Well, I went to the dictionary and started searching for words. Welp, she read my assignment out loud. Actually, I found it funny! But here is what I didn't realize, she was going to make me write in that class and she expecting nothing short of greatness. In her class, we had to write a poetry book. I feel like poetry is too slow for me, but of course, I did the assignment. The book had to have a dedication and I dedicated my book to my teacher. In it she wrote, I've been doing this assignment for years and you are the first student to dedicate their book to me. I guess in her own way, she jump started this whole writing thing I like to do.
Then, it was time to go to middle school...
Ok, so let me explain something. My middle school wasn't designed where we changed classes all day. We were on teams of 2 or 3 teachers. For our electives, we had other teachers. For this section, I will be only focusing on the teachers I had on my home team.
The first day of middle school wasn't bad for me. In fact, I walked in without a parent. Maybe it was because one of my cousins, who was in the seventh grade, walked with me and she had the same set of teachers I was going to have. In sixth grade, my teachers were Mrs. Tipton and Mrs. Beam. I remember having a fabulous year and meeting great people, especially a wonderful friend I am still friends with until this very day...20 years later. Here is what I remember about that year, Mrs. Tipton was my homeroom teacher and Mrs. Beam made me enjoy science. It's not that this year is foggy, but I also lost my maternal grandmother during the school year (over Easter break to be exact). What I remember most? Both of my teachers and my classmates were there for me when I needed them and that was really important to me.
Seventh grade was by far my absolute favorite year of middle school. I think I was on the best team! My teachers were Mrs. Ryan and Ms. Richardson. Mrs. Ryan was the only pre-algebra teacher in the seventh grade (at the time). If you were in pre-algebra, you have to be on the team that had Mrs. Ryan. I'm a math person, so of course I enjoyed taking a higher level class one year early! My favorite things about Ms. Richardson was that she was new and she was trying to figure out her way in the teaching world. This was her first year at the school (not sure if it was her first year teaching). I think I enjoyed seeing her grow and turn into an awesome teacher. Not sure where she is now, but I hope she is having one awesome career.
Eighth grade was a pretty good year because I am convinced I had the best English teacher in the entire middle school! On my team, my teachers were Mrs. Sigmon, Mrs. Crump, and Mrs. Allen. I had Mrs. Sigmon for homeroom and math. This year, I had to take algebra (a high school level course) and pass the high school exam if I wanted to take geometry next. Since I won't be talking about my math teacher in ninth grade, I will go ahead and let you know I passed. Mrs. Crump taught Social Studies. For real, I didn't really like social studies at the time, but I did well in the class. But this brings us to Mrs. Allen. She was the best English teacher I had in middle school. Her love for teaching was so evident and she made it interesting every single day. In fact, she is the teacher who taught me the correct pronunciation of Hawaii. We were Mrs. Allen's final class. We threw her a pretty awesome retirement party and she enjoyed it.
Since I had a great first day of middle school, I just figured this would be the case for the first day of high school. It was! In fact, it was even better because I was immediately able to hang out with upper classmen because of my cousins. In other words, I had protection for the first day of school and that was pretty cool.
Now, because of the class schedule of my high school, I had up to 8 teachers in one year. Therefore, I am only going to focus on one teacher from each year. Hopefully, this will help me navigate through these last few years of my K12 education.
In ninth grade, I had an absolutely awesome English teacher. Mrs. Price was tough, but she was good. However, she did call me out in a good way because on a test where a great majority of the class made a C or lower, I made a 96. I remember her because she really made me focus on a subject that I did not particular right. I actually ended up having her again in tenth grade for Creative Writing. She really made me focus on my writing that year and I believe I am a better person for her pushing.
Keeping with the English classes, in tenth grade, I had Mrs. Kennedy. This lady absolutely rocked!!! She tried to get me moved to Honors English in tenth grade and I told her that I didn't want to leave her. However, she made absolutely sure that I was in a higher level English class in the eleventh grade. Mrs. Kennedy was great and she saw something in me that I didn't begin to understand until after I was no longer in her class. One of my classmates was having issues in the class and she picked me, out of the whole class, to help them by taking notes for them. I felt really good about getting the chance to help someone, all while being able to maintain great grades. She really made us write in that class. I didn't enjoy it at the time, but I totally appreciate what she instilled in me. The only thing I had to learn by the end of that year was how to spell surprise. Yep, I used to have a real issue with that word, but I think I have a better handle on it right now.
Eleventh grade year was the only year I had a favorite teacher that wasn't an English teacher. However, my English teacher was awesome. However, this was the year of AP History! Mr. Bowen made my year!!! I was a history buff, but he turned me into something that I never thought I imagined. Ironically, we were just leaving his class when we got word about what was happening in our country on September 11. The next morning during the Pledge of Allegiance, he told us, "I hope this means a little bit more to you this morning". I remember a friend of mine breaking down during this time and that was really touching. This was also the one year in high school I was a cheerleader. It was a great year, even though this tragedy existed. After 9/11, he really tried to make us understand something that was hard for us to grasp at such a young age.
We are finally to senior year!!! And we are back to the English teachers. Mrs. Chapman ended my school career on a high. She was the final class I had to pass to get out of high school. I say it like that because I just needed English to pass (LOL). Mrs. Chapman was also preggo, so we had the chance to throw her a baby shower. However, she made us read like crazy!!! In fact, I still have those books and all the notes that I took. This year was fun because she understood that we were trying to get out of high school, but yet we still had to learn. She found a way to balance those two things and she made that final semester of my school career priceless.
Why did I write this? Well, I wanted to really take this time to appreciate some wonderful people in my life. All of my teachers made an impact on my life, but these people mentioned here just really touched me in a special way. During these years, during the waking hours of my life (and yours too), we spend our days with people that educate us Yes, our parents (at least in my generation) made sure we learned at home, but we also had great educators that made sure we were getting what we were supposed to be getting while we are school.
I am so thankful to have been blessed with wonderful teachers. Grant you, some were strict, but they got their point across and each one of them left something in me I took to college and I still carry today.
Appreciate your teachers. Learn from them. Learn from each other. Carry what you are taught in all areas of your life. You will never know what you are going to need to pull out from your memory to help you get through the day.