By Kelly Korek – As I am nearing the end of my student teaching experience, I can’t help but think back to all of the teachers I’ve had along the way who have helped me get to where I am today. I know that I would not be the kind of person or teacher I am without them, so it only seemed fitting to thank them.
You all entered the teaching profession with the intention of having an impact on the lives of your students. Well, I am here to tell you that you certainly did so with me. As I sit here, two weeks away from being finished with college, it becomes so clear how much you all have truly done to help me along the way. I’m not sure if I ever truly have before, so I want to take some time to thank you for all that you have done.
To my elementary school teachers – thank you for instilling in me a love of learning. You were the first people who I got to interact with in a school setting and you made it a place that I loved going to each and every day. Your classrooms were warm and inviting and your personalities were the same. On the days that I completely wiped out on the playground or fell down an entire flight of stairs, you were there with a hug and the reassurance that everything was going to be okay.
Because of all that you did, I was set on a path for academic success. I was able to learn my math facts through the countless timed tests we did in second grade and found my passion for math through my determination to get my paper on the board with a 100% each week. I gained even more confidence in math when you basically called me a human calculator in eighth grade, which made my day more than I think you could have ever imagined a side comment would have. I learned the value of immersive learning in fourth grade when we got to build our own rainforest and spend an entire school day living as they did back when Wisconsin became a state. All of you played a huge role in getting me ready to be successful in the coming years and beyond.
To my high school teachers – thank you for beginning to shape me into the young adult I am today. You had to deal with me during my teenage years, and while I tried my best to never be a problem, I know that you got to deal with one stressed out Kelly. I could always tell though that you knew and cared about this. Thank you for not being afraid to look at me and say, “Kelly you look terrible. What’s going on?” That showed that you saw me as more than just a student but as a person.
Thank you for giving me ideas for my own classroom. I can’t begin to count the number of times that I have stolen different tips or quirky ideas that I saw you all use for my own lessons. My students may think I’m crazy each time I do it, but I always have a smile on my face thinking back to my own days as a student watching these techniques. Thank you also for helping me to find my passions in life and discover who I really am. I am now excited to continue to share that passion with my students as I work with them in theatre productions or other extracurricular activities.
Finally to my college professors – thank you for being such strong mentors right as I was beginning to develop into the professional that I want to be. There were so many times that I would be sitting in a classroom and think to myself, “I want to be just like this person when I have my own class.” I knew that if I could find a way to bring what you brought into my own teaching, then I would be a successful teacher.
Thank you for being more than just a teacher. I truly cherish the conversations that we shared when I came to see you in your office or I stuck around after class for a minute. You gave me so much more than the academic help I may have been coming to see you for. You gave me insight into what the world will be like as a teacher and you gave me the excitement to experience that myself through the passion you showed. I could also just tell that you cared, be it the hug and prayer you gave me at the end of the semester or the offer to buy me a cup of coffee to help me get through the long class I had coming up next. It was great knowing that you were always there for me as my teacher and just as a person.
To all of you – I hope you can understand how much of an impact you have truly had on my life. I can think back to each and every one of you and know that you have helped to shape me into the young teacher and person that I am today. I don’t think it is possible to thank you enough for all that you have done. I just hope that I can do the same for my students because if I can be like all of you, then I will know that I have succeeded as a teacher.
I love you all,