Today, I saw a PBS Newshour article online asking the readership who inspired them to teach. I did not have to give this much thought at all. It was my mom! My mom inspired me to teach! She taught third grade at one of our local elementary schools while I was growing up. I remember summers for her were spent either attending a grad course (mostly on making corrugated cardboard furniture for her classroom) or developing new curriculum for her students. She made entire units on high interest topical themes like Robin Hood. It was a time when teachers could be creative in their discipline. Whole Language was the craze. I am sure she fostered a love of reading in her students by using Amelia Bedelia stories, Scott Corbett chapter books, and Jack Prelutsky poetry. She was an awesome teacher. I know her to be strict, yet kind. Firm, yet flexible enough to allow students to grow in a way that was meaningful for them. I watched and I learned.
Over the years, I saw how some of my friends and classmates reacted to my mom as a teacher. She was loved. She was respected. She was requested by parents and families who knew their child would benefit from a year in her classroom. I was proud to be her daughter and know my friends, neighbors, and classmates were learning well from her.
Today, I hope I am the teacher of which my mom would be proud. I try to emulate her investment in students, her joy of sharing a good book, and her patience in trying to teach a new concept. I know I received my love of the written word from my mom. I have always loved words, word roots, vocabulary, and a well written story. I owe gratitude to my mother for these traits I received directly from her. From watching, from growing, from emulating, from dreaming, I knew wanted to be a teacher. And now, I am.