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Mr. Pennings

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School’s not easy for a girl who is always being out-shown by her perfect twin sister. I was ordinary, semi-smart, and not particularly good looking. My sister was vibrant, intelligent, and cocky. By the time I reached high school I was used to having teachers look right over my head to hear what my genius sister had to say, and never see me. However, that all changed in my 9th grade social studies class. For the first time ever I had a teacher who saw me as an individual person. My teacher was named Mr. Pennings.

Mr. Pennings always seemed to have time to listen to me. He taught my class about the importance of love, trust and respect. He kept me fascinated with subjects that really mattered about the real world. Rather than memorizing all the countries and capitals of Africa, we learned about the many different religions, the terrorism and Taliban in the Middle East, the government corruption, and things that really made a difference. When students were confused, Mr. Pennings could be counted on to make things clear.

Mr. Pennings also brought out the best in students. Shy teens found their voices, trouble-makers learned control, and Nobodies became Somebodies. When I had a bad day Mr. Pennings had me stay after class and speak my mind. When I came to school fragile and shaken after a long fight with my family he brightened my day with a few kind words. Through his guidance I learned to believe in myself and harbor talents of my own. I learned my identity was not made up by my sister, but by myself.

To this day I don’t know what I would have done without the supporting hand of my 9th grade Social Studies teacher. Would I be the successful, confident, straight-A student I am today? Or would I still be the quiet, shy average girl living in my sister’s shadow? I will never know, but forever Mr. Pennings will hold a special place in my heart as my favorite teacher.



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LifeWriteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm
Great article! Sometimes it takes that one special person to bring out the "you" in you; to show you that there is something special about who you are. Way to go Mr. Pennings, and very well written!
 
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