I believe that teachers change lives.

Cherrie - Doswell, Virginia
Entered on March 13, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
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It seems that all of my life, I have wanted to be a teacher. However, when I was young and in elementary school, I was not the ideal student. Academically, I was average and when it came to my behavior, I was mischievous and difficult. I threw tantrums. I was bossy, and I always seemed to fight my way through my early years. By the time I was in the forth grade, I was known as a trouble maker and I can imagine how teachers dreaded seeing me coming. But one teacher took an interest in me. I was fortunate enough to have her in the fourth and again in the sixth grade.

She was a fine lady who always treated children with love, kindness, and respect. I remember learning a great deal and that she could be very strict and structured. At the time, that is what I needed most. In the sixth grade, she decided to take a new approach and when my grades started slipping, she suddenly arrived at my house with her grade book and a smile. I remember hiding from her on the steps to my room as she sat on the couch with my parents. She displayed her grade book and explained how I could ace a test and never turn in a single piece of homework. After that, my parents became more active in my education. They looked forward to the weekly progress reports from my teacher that showed check marks for the work I turned in.

After having her for two years as my teacher, my attitude on learning changed. I was a different child by the time I moved on to the seventh grade. I was determined. I had self discipline and self motivation. I would not accept anything less than a B from myself and I was determined to grow up and become a teacher. Now I am grown. I have two children of my own. Not only did I become a teacher with a BA in education. I went on to achieve a Masters degree in early childhood education and am currently working on a PhD in Educational Leadership. I am ambitious. I teach preschool and once I finish my PhD, not only do I want to become an administrator who can have the power to expand preschool, but I also want to become an advocate for preschool education.

I could not have made such achievements without her influence. She helped mold me into the assertive and strong woman that I am today. She took my determination and drive and turned into accomplishment and pride. I will never forget her. When I was in the seventh grade, I wrote a letter to her and thanked her for the interest she showed in me. To this day, I keep in touch with her and always celebrate my achievements by reminding her of the difference she made in my life.