Ms. Mc Coy was the strictest teacher in my whole elementary school and in 4th grade, she was my teacher. I was so nervous about having her because of the horror stories I had heard. Turned out that those stories were a bit exaggerated. Little did I know she would impact my life and pave a new road for me forever. Ms. Mc Coy had high expectations but she was also kind and so patient. 4th grade was the year that I had difficulties with reading. Ms. Mc Coy challenged me in ways no other teacher had. She kept me after school and worked with me. She taught me songs to help me retain important information and she made me feel powerful, smart and like I could accomplish anything. By the end of the school year I had not only met grade level expectations, but had exceeded them. I’ll always be so thankful that I had a teacher who cared enough to help me, to push me and to challenge me. More importantly, I will never forget the way she made me feel.
I often think of Ms. Mc Coy and each time I say a prayer of thanksgiving. It is because of her that I too am a teacher today. My goal is to reach each one of my students in the ways they need it. My students may not remember everything I have said to them, but my hope is that they remember how they felt in my classroom.
At the end of first grade, I was diagnosed with dyslexia. At the time, I wasn’t really sure what this meant other than the fact that I started getting pulled out of reading class with a small group of students to have a different teacher for reading. Our new reading teacher, Mrs. Z, explained what dyslexia was to us and made sure that we could not use our learning difference as an excuse. She was able to incorporate all of our learning styles into each lesson to make sure we all understood what was being taught. Reading class went from being the class I dreaded the most, to the class I most looked forward to. After three years of working with Mrs. Z, it was time for us to go back to the regular reading class in fifth grade. We were all nervous at first, but ultimately were able to succeed thanks to all the tips and tricks she had taught us over the years. Not only did I survive fifth grade, but thanks to Mrs. Z, I will hopefully be finishing my Master's program in two years!
My mom was my fourth grade teacher. And contrary to what most people might expect, I loved everything about it. My classmates weren’t always nice to me about it; they’d often stop talking if I walked by or complain loudly at recess about assignments they didn’t want to do or tests they didn’t do well on. But I didn’t care. I loved watching her write on the chalkboard in her perfect teacher handwriting. I loved the pronoun cheer she taught us to sing while shaking brightly colored pom-poms, unfazed by the laughs of the class (I, you he, she, it, we, they, me, you, him, her, it, us, them!). I loved watching her face light up when one of her students won the Spelling Bee or performed in the Talent Show or became a big brother or sister. My mom was my fourth grade teacher and that was the year I decided that I wanted to be a teacher too; I thought that one day I would want my daughter to be that proud of me too. Today, I am Facebook friends with dozens of my old classmates and their siblings and now and again, someone shares a fond memory of our glorious school years. All the good ones start with “Remember in the fourth grade…?” and I love to reply, “That was the year my mom was my teacher.”