I am an extroverted, independent, and friendly only child. Being shy and lonely are not normal behaviours for me, but on the first day of third grade I found myself in a new classroom in a new school, late because I missed the bus. I was anxious, I was awkwardly and uncharacteristically shy, and I felt very alone. The community I had moved into was a small one and everyone had seemingly known everyone else since birth. Everyone had friends.
The seats had long since been filled and I stood there with a bookbag and a lunch bag, not knowing what to do, where to sit, or what to say.
My new teacher, Mrs. Jean Abbott, made everything better in a heartbeat. Within seconds through Mrs. Abbott’s request for help, I found myself sharing a desk with another girl and that day, I made many friendships that I hold dear still today. Mrs. Abbott fostered those relationships in a caring and safe environment, one where we all learned and grew together. The atmosphere in her room was one of sharing, camaraderie, and security.
Mrs. Abbott was fair but strict. There were a lot of lessons that year. She taught the curriculum but also through her expectations and her own behaviour, she taught me the value of asking for help; the importance of respecting others regardless of age or ability; and the beauty of collaboration.
Mrs. Abbott was also my sixth grade teacher, and years after I also became a teacher, I talked to her online about some of the lessons she did in those days.
It’s important to tell people they made an impact on your life, as all too often we rarely hear how special we are.
Mrs. Abbott: Thank you.