My Mentors, My Teachers

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I thought I'd share a bit about the people who influenced my life and helped me become a better teacher.

My Mom
My mother has to be the biggest influence in my life.  Like many moms, she would do anything for her children.  She sacrificed so much of her life for my sister and I.  But there was one thing that was different from my mom than some of the other moms.  She could not read well.  You see, my mom was a migrant worker during the days of segregation.  School to her was not a welcoming place.  Despite that, my mom was always an advocate for education.  She saw its value.  She taught me that perseverance and hard work can make dreams come true.

Mrs. Albertson
Mrs. Albertson was my first grade teacher.  It was 1979 and my family had just moved to California.  I remember that she told my mom that she would take good care of me.  And, she did.  My fondest memory is of Mrs. Albertson sharing her sandwich with me on a school field trip.  I didn't have one because my mom had said that I could not go because she was afraid of me riding the bus.  Mrs. Albertson called my mom and changed her mind.  That act of kindness changed my whole life. I knew I wanted to be just like her; a teacher.

The Homestead
As a senior in high school, I decided to volunteer at a museum to beef up my resume before college.  I volunteered throughout college and later worked in the Public Programs department.  While there, I learned about public speaking and interacting with people of all ages.  The Homestead taught me about computers, design, how to coordinate events, set up and clean up events, and more.  I still use many of these same skills today as a teacher.   It was also here that I made lifetime girlfriends and said my I dos on my wedding day.

The Office of Admissions
As a first generation college student, leaving home and going away to college was huge.  My University's Office of Admissions took care of me not only as a prospective student but more importantly afterwards.  The Office of Admissions became my home away from home.  I would volunteer as an Admissions Host and later, work as Admissions Intern.  The Office of Admissions taught be real world skills such as etiquette and discourse.

Mr. R
Mr. R was my first principal.  He took a chance on me.  He saw my potential even when I may have not seen it in myself.  He allowed his teachers to take risks as learners and to make mistakes.  He also believed in his staff.  During my first year teaching, he told me that he believed that I had ganas or the desire to be a good teacher.  At the time, I didn't really understand what it meant.  But over time, I have learned that it does take ganas to make it as a teacher.  Without it, it just becomes a job.

I am so thankful to the mentors and teachers I have had in my life. I am a teacher because of them.

I've learned that teaching isn't about reading the scripted lesson.

Kudos to teachers!  You do make a difference!

Happy Teaching!
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