More Than a Teacher This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I don’t know when I realized she was a genius but when I did, something hit me. Sometimes intellect isn’t meant to be found. The person who wants to seek it must discover those who have something different to offer. Someone to answer those questions you thought had no answers.

Mrs. Feldberg isn’t your average teacher. She doesn’t care for normality, but somehow makes time for everything. Modest, too modest. This is her greatest fault. Always knowing what to say, and her little tidbits mean the most. Sometimes spurts of rebelliousness come alive, when she says “Don’t justify who you are, let it be.” She accepts what is there, but always looks to change what doesn’t seem right. Reading poetry, the words dance right off the pages for her – or through a tiny statement, she changes everything.

Mrs. Feldberg teaches English – love, anguish, sorrow, and hope all rolled into one. I first met her in tenth grade. She spent the entire period telling us about her first days of school. From that day I knew it was like finding a four-leaf clover in a forest. She taught me the importance of life through To Kill a Mockingbird, acceptance of one another through Black Boy – and with poetry, she has helped me find myself.

When she read poetry, it was if the whole world was on hold. She took hold of that literature and turned it into a ray of sunlight beaming down on us, those buds, waiting to bloom. With her help, we did bloom.

I never before had a teacher who wanted me to explore the outskirts of life without a safety belt, but I did and survived. She put courage in me, and now uncharted waters seem charted.

She didn’t teach the average way. We never had a goal; every day was just a continuation of finding ourselves. In Creative Writing class, she asked us to write one word on our paper and from there connect the next word that came into our head. It ended up as a map to show us who we really are.

I’m nominating Mrs. Feldberg because it’s not only me who sees how she teaches, but everyone in school. We all know if we have a problem we can talk to her. She doesn’t act like a teacher, more like a conscience for teenagers. At this age we could use it.

Humor never fails her, especially when she’s reading my poetry. She sees things I don’t see in my work and it’s at those moments when the truth shines through. We don’t agree on a lot of things, yet I know she always takes my opinions into perspective. In return, I always listen to what she has to say.

She once told us of an experience she had seeing New York City from a great distance. Describing the bridges lit at night as “necklaces,” I said to myself, shocked, “That’s how our language should be used.” It’s very difficult to remember everything, but the one thing that sticks out in my mind the most is; every time Mrs. Feldberg reads my poetry she says “Thank you.” She’s thanking me …

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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