I am studying to be a teacher, and I have some pretty amazing role models. I hear a lot of people talk about how they have a favorite teacher, but I can't say that. When I think about who might be my favorite teacher from elementary, middle, and high school I can't narrow it down. So many have inspired me to follow in their footsteps. They are all so different, and so amazing in their own ways. My only hope as a future educator is that I can make my own students feel as special, awesome, and empowered as they have made me feel. The thing that makes them stand out to me is that they taught past the bell.
When I left their class, they didn't stop teaching me. When I left their grade or moved on to a different level they continued to care. When I walked across that stage and received my diploma, when I was no longer their responsibility, they didn't give up on me. They continued to give me support. My first semester of college was rough. I was taking difficult classes, I moved away from home, and my Mom was in an accident that required me to travel home frequently. During that period, I received texts from those teachers. They asked if I was OK, how school was going, and if they could do anything to help (some of my former English teachers probably regretted this offer, because they got some papers to read.) Since then they have offered words of wisdom, advice, textbooks to borrow, and unending support - even when I changed my major from Secondary Education to Early Childhood Development.
When I think about standing in front of a classroom one day with tiny faces looking up at me, I pray that I will be as great at that job as they are. I have had amazing people to lead me to this point. People who showed me that teaching doesn't end when the bell rings, that it never really ends. I have a feeling they will still be leading and teaching me throughout these next few years of college and first years of teaching. What we learn in the classroom is important, but they have taught me that the most important lessons you teach aren't always in the classroom. Thank you to this group of teachers, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing your love of life and teaching with me, and pushing me to do the same. Thanks for teaching past the bell.