For Teacher Appreciation Week, GCA staff reflect on the educators who were most influential to them.
To this day, I believe my desire to become a teacher and enter the field of education is because of my 5th grade teacher. Mrs. Prather had the ability to make a group of students feel like a family and could instill a love of learning that was truly inspiring. Throughout my time in the classroom, I often thought of how I could implement lessons that engaged my students in way that made them excited about what they were learning. I also wanted to create an environment that made my students feel like they were a family with love and respect for one another. Ultimately, I wanted to be just like Mrs. Prather. I wanted to instill a love of learning and a love for others in the same way that she did for me. I still think of her to this day and what a positive learning experience I had when I was in Mrs. Prather’s classroom.
Moving often as a child, I had many teachers. One of my most memorable was my first-grade teacher. Her son and I were friends, so I was thrilled when I discovered his mom would be my teacher. My first move came during that year. On my last day in her class, she encouraged me to “keep reading.” She wrote me letters for several years thereafter. Even though I did not see her or talk to her until years later when I entered high school, I always felt she was cheering me on.
Another teacher who impacted my life was a high school physical education teacher. She encouraged everyone to do the best they could, even with tasks (like gymnastics for me) that didn’t come natural to us. She never made us feel like a failure. Her teaching methods were innovative, and class was fun. She inspired me to become a teacher.
Another person who influenced my life was a principal. She challenged me daily to learn and grow. She encouraged me to accept new opportunities. Her dedication as an educator was an example to everyone.
There are many other ‘teachers’ who live in my memories. None of my memories include WHAT they taught me, but I recall the way they cared for and challenged me as a person. I am grateful that I have been touched by so many talented and dedicated educators.
As a rising third-grader, I remember excitedly peering across the hall at Mrs. McBride’s Marvelous Mavericks—Grade 3, here I come! No longer would I be one of the second-grade babies—Mr. Green’s Green Apples; no, I would be older! A hall monitor! A classroom host! McBride’s Marvelous Mavericks’ Writer of the Week! Anticipating third grade to be my year to shine as a burgeoning writer and raconteur of horse stories, I resolved to learn everything Mrs. McBride would teach us—even if it were not about horses.
So much of our formative years have been spent in classrooms learning, but sometimes we don’t realize just how much these experiences have shaped us. Mrs. McBride’s enthusiasm for teaching had influenced the way I view challenges and opportunities. It made new things less scary, which is huge to all learners.
Thanks to all the “McBrides” out there giving students the very best—yourselves!