Monday, January 26, 2015

Memorable Teachers and How They Made Me a Better Educator: Part One

I am lucky to have had five memorable teachers who made a powerful and positive impression in my life and, looking back, I realize they greatly influenced the kind of teacher I am today. For this five part series, I will talk about why the teachers were important to me and how I use what I learned from them in my own classroom.

Part One: Third Grade with Mrs. Linenberger

Up until third grade I really disliked school. I got frustrated easily, especially with math and reading, because I just didn’t get it. Sometimes I got so upset with myself in class that I would just cry. That changed when I met Mrs. Linenberger. She was a very tall woman (especially to a little third grader) with brownish-red floofy hair and a big smile and a bigger laugh. I loved being in her second floor, corner classroom.

Mrs. Linenberger believed in my ability to read and got me started on chapter books.  She stressed to my parents how well I was doing and how much I was improving. My reading abilities grew so much that year. Somehow, she turned my extreme dislike of reading into one of my favorite activities. One project I really remember from her classroom involved reading groups. One reading group I was in read a book about a boy digging up worms in his yard. My task was to relate to the story by bringing in an object to share. Being the strange little girl I was, I brought in worms and had my group predict how long the worms were and measure them. Mrs. Linenberger sent me to the principal’s office, not because I was in trouble, but because she thought it was such a clever idea and wanted to make sure the principal heard about it. I remember on the walk home telling my mom I got sent to the principal. I tried to make her think I was in trouble but couldn’t keep a straight face because I was so pleased with myself.

Ever since third grade, I have loved school. Later in high school I decided I wanted to be a teacher. Not just any teacher—I wanted to be a third grade teacher, just like Mrs. Linenberger. Since then, I’ve learned I’m better suited to middle school.

Mrs. Linenberger taught me much more than just how to love reading. She taught me how one teacher can turn around a student’s entire outlook on school. Every time I start a new school year as a teacher I identify and hone in on the students who dislike school, and I try to make as big of an impact on them as Mrs. Linenberger made on me.

Take a look at the other teachers who are a part of this series.
Part Two: Middle School
Part Three: High School
Part Four: Graduate School
Part Five: School of Life

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