How do you describe in a few words someone who every year fundamentally alters the future of 25 to 35 young people? My life partner is a master teacher, yet not the product of an educational degree, rather she fell into the profession and has realized a success that is witnessed by the parents, the students themselves, and professionals that fail to realize the genius she uses to bring out the best in children of 10 to 11 years old.
One of her fellow teachers put it best, “she takes a bunch kids that are the most difficult and furthest behind, and by the end of the year has an incredible community of students that represent the best in the school.” Many students progress more than the one year of academic growth expected at this school. Some display over two years of academic growth. She exceeds with her students the growth of any school even in the state, let alone our district, despite that she teaches at what is formally stated as a “failing school.” With rare exception, all her students become more confident and motivated learners, many shocking their parents by how they turn around in their thinking and actions.
The classroom is built around mutual respect and fairness. Students learn to guide themselves with a teacher who differentiates to the individual student. She leads in a subtle and gentle way that has only seen limited success with one student that told his brother, who also was in her class, that she was the “best teacher that he ever had.” On a parent night, she often has 100% turnout as parents want to witness more of the classroom that has children going home to talk about what happened that day.
In this day where we have targeted so many schools and teachers as “failing,” I so wish someone could document the endless levels of success that this one teacher represents. If someone could talk to the parents and the past student to see how she allows the students themselves to alter their life trajectory in the most amazing ways. Her students return frequently to tell their stories of continuing success, as they continue to middle school and high school.
She is an inspiring and amazing woman who has so greatly influenced my own teaching concepts. She has personally overcome so much that has happened to her in her own life, much that makes others bitter and often dysfunctional in our complex and fast-changing world. She is such an example as a living inspiring, compassionate, and giving woman.