This I Believe

Stephanei - Brightwood, Oregon
Entered on August 29, 2006

I do not claim to be a great student or scholar; I do not claim any great successes that I can bestow upon the efforts of my childhood teachers. I claim only the resounding impact a good teacher can have on the life of a child—an impact that can still be felt well into adulthood.

I believe that good character and engaged teaching can be the example that a developing mind can learn to emulate. I believe that applied, active lessons will stay with the student forever—even if they are sometimes lessons that aren’t always graded.

In the fifth grade, I had the special honor of having Mrs.Wendy Pamay. She was known for her creative touch, and her classroom was chockablock full of projects with which students had to use their hands in tandem with their minds—projects I can remember to this day. She taught us about archipelagos and atolls with a table of sand; she instructed us about homonyms with construction paper and glue; she showed us the existence of racism with creative writing and ink-fingerprints; we performed Macbeth and Hamlet, we learned about Vikings and bookbinding; she instructed us on tolerance and kindness by example. She showed us poetry and prose and trips to the countryside instructed us of a world replete of natural wonders.

I cannot remember that time without warmth and love. It is impossible for me to generate a single page of writing without feeling an overwhelming gratitude towards her for showing me the gift of creative writing and art, and opening that door of expression to me, as well as countless others.

I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older, how valuable a good teacher can be. Children, whose lives may not be perfect in other respects, are able to glean great benefits from the influence of an involved, creative teacher. Sometimes so much so, it can change the direction of their lives. Teachers can be the example for children to follow, the avenue to finding the things they’re good at, to find passion in life, in learning and creativity.

Mrshas seen many fifth grade classes. The ceiling of her classroom was still festooned with homonyms, and the book-nook and binding area still existed, from what I last heard. I often wonder if she still teaches, and think of what projects she could possibly be doing—what Shakespeare plays, or readings of Beowulf she might be having the children perform. I often wish she could be around to teach my own future children—so valuable her gifts were for me.

I believe in teachers. I believe in people like Mrs. , whose love and care; whose joy for learning and imparting knowledge in creative ways can inspire children every day to grow and develop, and succeed by her example.