From time to time I think of that one teacher who really changed my life.   I would not be where I am today without her guidance.  I am lucky she is still around and we send one another a Christmas card each year.

She taught me in high school.  I had her as a teacher for two years in a row.  I really liked her teaching style.  She was so organized.  We all knew the daily routine in her class, what to expect.  Routines and consistency  allow students to feel secure.

She was a get down to business, no-nonsense teacher.  She really cared about teaching us.  She was smart and knew her stuff, as well as how to motivate and inspire her students.  Before her class, I had little self-esteem in the subject.  I was hesitant and not so fond of the subject.  Well, she must  have seen something in me because she really reached out to get me where I needed to be.  I liked her daily routine;  I felt safe and confident in her class.  She was also always available to give us help outside of class.  She was patient and never condescending.  I wanted to learn more and do better under her guidance.

I will never forget one day at the beginning of class.  I had a chance to go ask her about the test we had taken another day.  I was so confident that I did well.  She tried to tease me by telling me I didn’t do well.  I was shocked and could not believe it.  I was disappointed right then, but she said with a smile, “have some confidence Brigid, you did great.”  I could tell that she was proud of me and the effort I always made.

Not only was she a phenomenal teacher, but she was kind and supportive as well.  I enjoyed talking to her, though we were light years apart in age – or so it seemed at the time.

I left her class with the confidence I needed, and a desire to be as structured and as organized as she was.   I credit her for my profession today.  I am a teacher in the same subject she taught me.  When I got to college, my classmates came to me in that subject for help during midterms and finals.  They figured that I knew what I was doing because I was bold enough to ask the teacher questions.  So, I helped who ever showed up at my door.  It was then that I realized I wanted to teach the subject and help others like she helped me.  I really enjoyed helping the other students, and at that point knew that I wanted to be a teacher in that same subject.   I felt so good at what I was doing.

Thanks to that one shining star of a teacher, I was able to go to college with self-confidence, earn two masters degrees, and have a wonderful career.  I can only hope that I can be as inspiring to at least one, if not more, of my own students.  She has a place in my  heart for always.

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