The Power of Teaching

September 18, 2008
I had never given much thought about what I wanted to do with my life until seventh grade when I received my first grade from my English teacher, Mrs. Gielow. I had always loved to write, but nobody had ever told me that I was good at it before that day. Mrs. Gielow inspired me; she not only guided me towards choosing a career in journalism, but she also encouraged me to try my best at everything I do.

I had written a paper using a sports metaphor, and when she handed it back to me, all I saw were red marks all over the assignment. After reading all of her notes, however, I realized all she talked about was how much she loved my paper. All of those scary red marks were compliments! This was one of the first times I was truly proud of my school work. I felt elated that she thought I had done well, and just a little embarrassed when she read my story to the class.

I wanted to feel that way every time she handed a paper back to me, so I worked on my English assignments for hours. English soon became my favorite class, and Mrs. Gielow was certainly my favorite teacher. In class, I would start writing as soon as I could, after she had given us the instructions. She recognized how hard I was working, and she always congratulated me on constructed response questions.

One day before class began, Mrs. Gielow asked me if I knew what I wanted to do when I was finished with high school. There were no careers that had really captured my attention; I could not think of anything that interested me enough. Mrs. Gielow casually suggested
that I consider a career as a journalist or an author, and I wondered why I had never thought of that before! This incident did not immediately have an impact on my decision to be a journalist, but I started to think about my future.

In my freshman year of high school, I attended a Science Olympiad tournament at Missouri University, for extra credit in my biology class. While touring the campus, I discovered that M.U. has a prestigious journalism department. After returning from Columbia, I researched as much information as I could about the university, which I now hope to attend after graduation. I also enrolled in Journalism I last year, which only enhanced my desire to write for a newspaper.

Mrs. Gielow taught me a lot of things that year. Not only did I learn about grammar and spelling in her class, but I also learned a lot about myself and who I wanted to be. She was an excellent role model, and she genuinely cared about all of her students. I was not the only student whose work she praised, but that made me admire her even more. She saw potential in all of her students they sometimes did not even know they had. There is more to being a teacher than books and homework. Those who teach for a living have the power to help their students understand the impact they can have on the world.

I cannot give all the credit to her for my hope to become a journalist, but she did influence me. She would never let me give up just because I thought I wasn’t good enough, or smart enough. To this day, she is the most helpful and inspiring teacher I have had the privilege to know. I hope that I will be able to make her proud. I would like to influence someone as much as she has influenced me.

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