THE TEACHERS WHO MADE ME A BETTER TEACHER

For 9 years, I was an elementary special education teacher of students with learning disabilities. I stay home with my own kids now but teaching is always in my heart. These are the teachers/colleagues who shaped my teaching, and more importantly, are a gift to so many students.
  1. E, my partner and mentor for my first two years of teaching
    She is the one of the kindest people I've ever met. She loves her students with her whole heart, especially the "difficult" ones. She advocates fiercely for them despite being very shy herself. E nudged me to enroll in a specialized teacher training program, which was the single best professional decision I've ever made.
  2. J, professor in the teacher training program
    J has entirely dedicated her life to students with dyslexia. She tutors privately, trains other teachers, works as an adjunct professor, and writes teaching manuals in her spare time. She gives away her work for free so more teachers can have access to quality materials, which will ultimately help more students. She is sincere, humble, and always on a quest to learn more.
  3. L, my partner for 7 years
    An absolutely upstanding and principled person, and one who feels everything so deeply. She taught me the importance of not cutting corners, not making assumptions, and listening with your whole attention. She is excels at meeting students where they are and showing them their own potential.
  4. G, fifth grade teacher
    She has a gruff personality that belies how much she cares about her job. She works her ass off for her kids and knows each one of them so well. She actually volunteers for lunch duty every year so she can get to know the entire student body better - that way by the time she teaches them, she already knows each kid. G is someone you want in your corner.
  5. S, kindergarten teacher
    I love S because she reminds me of myself - quiet, nurturing, and committed. She isn't a squeaky wheel but she accomplishes a lot in a simple, quiet way. She gave me much-needed confidence and encouragement when I was a new teacher.
  6. J, third grade teacher
    I had the absolute privilege of being an in-class support teacher for J for at least one class period per day every year that I taught. Being in her room was like attending a master class. She actively seeks out best practices and hones her teaching year by year. She is generous with her time and materials, and is keenly observant when it comes to her students and their needs, whether educational or personal.