• Samantha

Monday Musings: An Influential Teacher in My Life

I'm fortunate to have had several memorable and inspiring educators from kindergarten through graduate school. Now that I am the mother of three school-age teenagers and children, it's heightened my appreciation for such people in our lives.


When I think back to an influential teacher, my mind and heart wander to seventh grade. My language arts teacher was entertaining, honest and authentic. She shared many aspects and stories from her life - personal and professional - with us. It was part of her curriculum -- to emphasize the importance of lived experiences. To honor one's truth and story. (I referred to her in my Cicely Tyson reflection earlier this year.)



We discussed important literary works and classics in her class, but also discussed racism, the true American story (unvarnished) and the pride each of us should have for who we are and where we come from. This was not common place in the mid 1990s.


As a multiracial woman growing up in the 1960s and 70s, she weaved the current and historical contexts into class discussions. She connected with every student -- the high achievers and the ones who rarely participated or attended class. She had a special way with her students -- to meet them where they were. She made language arts and English about more than texts and writing, but a way to honor our everyday lives through journaling, letter writing and reflection.


I am so grateful for Ms. Pooler. She opened my eyes to so much and influenced me in ways I'm still discovering.


To every educator out there, take to heart that you are doing important work. You are making a difference, and for some of us, it may be decades later when we can truly appreciate your gifts.


Thank you.


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