A Natural Teacher This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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The classroom is a sanctuary; a safe place where common facts and individual thought intermingle. Hands raise with confidence and excitement as new ideas are offered. Twenty-five enthusiastic learners explore together the topic at hand, discussing, analyzing, and inferring. No topic is boring; be it imperialism, war, nationalism, or Nelson Mandela. Shy students sit among braver voices and are encouraged to join the conversation; there is no foolish answer in Ms. Hunt’s classroom.

Among some of the younger teachers in my school, Ms. Hunt relates to her students naturally. She is bilingual; speaking both a language more mature than ours and a language that we understand and learn from. She teaches in a creative style- fluctuating back and forth between topics that are apprehensible and topics that are foreign. “Ms. Hunt has a great hands-on approach to teaching,” says one student. She has us participate in class debates and offers games that stimulate our minds. As another student says, “she makes me come out of my comfort zone and really think about what she is saying.” If someone feels lost, there is no hesitation to ask for help. Unlike some teachers, Ms. Hunt makes us feel smart- not silly- when we ask questions. There is no anxiety about raising our hand, or asking her to repeat something, or explain it again. She brings about in her students a hunger to learn; a thirst for knowledge that no previous teacher has inspired.

Students shamelessly admit that Ms. Hunt is very pretty. However, it is not her appearance that intrigues us the most. What attracts us is her compassion; the way she accepts her students as they are and is determined to teach us regardless of our flaws. In my history class there is a boy with special needs. Some teachers get frustrated with special-needs students and their occasional quirky behavior; Ms. Hunt embraces it. As this boy loudly announces his opinions, many of us strain our ears to understand his words- but Ms. Hunt does not. She nods and responds with the occasional “mhmm” and “I think you’re right”. When he is finished, the boy takes a deep breath and smiles proudly. Ms. Hunt shares this smile with him.

There is a program in Massachusetts called the Metco Program, which allows students that live in Boston to attend other public schools; between twenty and thirty of these students attend my school. Ms. Hunt is involved with the Metco program; she offers her time and her attention where it is needed. One student describes, “she helps us raise money for our program by having bake sales. She acts as a counselor to us also.” It is apparent that Ms. Hunt wants to connect with her students, which only makes us feel the same way and want to reciprocate. Trust is not something that teenagers find easily in adults; yet trusting Ms. Hunt seems to be common.

One thing that stands alone, beautifully, about Ms. Hunt is her cordiality towards young people. A student that I spoke to said, “I feel like if there was a teacher I would go to talk to it would be Ms. Hunt”. I have spoken to Ms. Hunt on many occasions about personal matters. She once said to me that while she is my teacher, and she is required to teach me history, she can teach me others things as well. I share my poems with her. She reads them and offers great feedback. I trust her opinion because she is a talented writer herself. I appreciate- more than she knows- that she takes the time to read my poetry. It makes me feel significant; like I am more than just another student. At the same time, Ms. Hunt is very clear that there are boundaries that must be maintained. I respect her so much for this, as some teachers either don’t want to take the time to figure out what those boundaries are, or they cross the boundaries- only to cut the relationship off without explanation.

Ms. Hunt is a role-model in every sense of the word. I admire her because she is a well-educated woman, and it is empowering to see. She makes me feel like I can achieve success. I admire her patience as well; the patience she has for me, and every one of her students. A student described Ms. Hunt as being very “natural”; this is the perfect adjective. She has an aura of safety and acceptance in which students such as myself are enabled to trust her and feel comfortable learning from her. School, for so many students, is just a bore. But there is at least one class that students look forward to: Ms. Hunt’s World History.





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