Teachers change lives every day

Thank you, Ms. O’Brien

Author: Jenelle Welshman
Teacher's name: JoAnn O'Brien
Teacher's school: St. James Regional High

Ms. O’Brien was my guidance counselor throughout high school. Most people don’t refer to guidance couselors as teachers, but Ms. O’Brien was more than a guidance counselor or even a teacher; she is the glue that held many students that attended my high school together.

Throughout my school years, I never really understood the importance of guidance couselors; that is until I was referred to her after missing so much school (or something like that I don’t quite remember how I ended up there in the first place). In my grade 11 year, I found myself sitting across from Ms. O’Brien feeling afraid, nervous, and any other possible feeling a 15 year old would feel after being asked to go see a the person you didn’t understand why they were a part of the teaching staff at school. That day changed my opinion of guidance counselors and it changed my life.

It doesn’t really matter why I was in her office, but instead what matters is how she changed my life. At that point I was unsure if I would account to anything. I had changed, and couldn’t find the reason why. I was always the kid who would do everything, join every club, the “teacher’s pet” almost. It was Ms. O’Brien that helped me get that back. Her kind heart, her open ears, and the love that she gives to each student that passes through her office—whether it be for silly questions about adolescence, choosing a career, or something serious—Ms. O’Brien is always there. Having her office door open whenever needed, she is an incredible woman. But she is also an incredible teacher. Although not in a classroom setting, but instead in a tiny little office down the tiny little hall, Ms. O’Brien changes lives. And I can’t thank her enough for changing mine.

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