Monday, May 6, 2013

Who Taught Me?

In Prompt #3: The Writing on Learning Exchange: Who Taught You by Siobhan Curious, she asks,

“This week’s prompt: Who have you learned from?  What did he/she teach you?”

I guess I’m in another weird situation because not one person taught me the main things but several people have taught me many important things about life. Some are no longer living, some are, and some I have no idea where they are. So, let’s begin!

My professional life:

I had a wonderful third grade teacher who made me love school more than I ever thought I could. She challenged me and praised me every day. Learning was fun and doing well was even better. I wasn’t expected to be perfect but I was expected to do my best. Reading was the best part of her class and it was encouraged every free moment we had. I never wanted to leave her class. I knew that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up and wanted to be just like her!

My fourth grade teacher was a nightmare I will never forget. She was a perfectionist and physically abused students when they gave a wrong answer. She would pull them out of their desks and bang their heads against the cinder block walls. Then we were threatened that if we ever told on her, she would get us next. I had the beginning of an ulcer that year and it was the first time I ever went to the doctor. Needless to say, I was a straight A student and did not make mistakes so I was never abused but the threat was still there. I didn’t realize until a year or two later that she had been engaged, married, abused by her husband (which is why she wore sunglasses to class), and was divorced in that one year I was in her class. In fact, she had such an impact on me that I never told my family about her abuse until I was married and out of college. Even though she was awful, she taught me a lot. She taught me that I never wanted to be a teacher like her. I never wanted my students to be afraid of making mistakes. I never wanted my students to be afraid of telling their parents about school. This was a teacher that I never wanted to be and used her example to review my teaching practices at the end of every school year of my career.

My personal life:

Family1964My parents: My parents worked hard raising three daughters. My mother was a stay at home mom and my father worked in a restaurant. I don’t believe he had any sort of pension plan or health insurance. I learned to stay healthy and take care of myself and was given home remedies if I was sick. I loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and had it for lunch every day of my school career and give it a lot of credit for my good health which also resulted in perfect attendance. My mother made all of clothes for school and my father spent a lot of time with me on his one day off from work. We had dinner together as a family every day even if it meant that we ate dinner as soon as I got home from school because my father left for work soon after that. I’m not sure I ever told my mother how much I appreciated her when she died at the age of 59 but as I get older, I feel like I can see more and more the many sacrifices she made for me. I realize now that she did without so many things so that I could have so many things. My father is still going strong at the age of 93 and I work hard to let him know how much I appreciate all that he taught me such as having a strong work ethic is very important and that family is important too.

My oldest sister: She taught me to enjoy life because you never know how long you will live. She was diagnosed with lupus when she was about 18 and since they didn’t know much about it, she wasn’t given long to live. She lived for 9 more years and didn’t die until she was 27 years old (I was 15 at that time). She appreciated every day she was still alive and even though I was so much younger than her, we were very close and I learned to appreciate life with her. I learned that I couldn’t worry about the “what ifs” and I need to live in the “here now” or I would miss out on many wonderful things.

My husband: He has taught me to start every day with the right attitude. No matter how I am feeling, I need to be thankful for each day and be happy that I’m alive. In fact, he actually says that out loud every day. He gives me a kiss good morning every day and lets me know how much he loves me. I learned how much this can mean to someone because I know how much it means to me. I learned to appreciate being alive and being thankful for the people in my life!

So, now I ask you, who taught you and what have you learned?

Photo by one of my family members but I’m not sure who.

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