Le Ann Downs, English Teacher, Mansfield High School This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

February 20, 2013
I will never forget her. Mrs. Le Ann Downs, my ninth-grade English teacher, is my second mother. Each day, she shakes our hands as we walk through her door, and asks how we’re doing. She inquires about our homework load that week, and will try to make sure we get enough practice in class so we won’t have ­another take-home assignment.

While teaching, she is relaxed and comfortable. No one ever has problems asking questions, since we feel so connected to her conversational method of teaching. As an aspiring author, I greatly ­appreciate the many techniques and writing devices she has taught us. The practice and constructive criticism that she gives has greatly improved my writing skills ­and has taught me how to be open to ­everything.

Support is her middle name. Mrs. Downs is always asking when anyone has a game, match, or concert coming up that she can attend. After any important school event, including an exam or game, she always makes sure she finds out how well we performed. She is never afraid to dress up on spirit days. The best times I’ve had with Mrs. Downs are when she’s her crazy, spontaneous self, cracking up in the middle of class. She is always ­optimistic, pushing us to shine to our full potential.

Sadly, last year, her daughter’s best friend committed suicide. The next week, Mrs. Downs was selling suicide-awareness bracelets with proceeds going to the Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She reminded us that if we ever need anything, we could come to her anytime. She even gave us her phone number and let us know that even in the middle of the night, she would be there for us. I have taken advantage of her offer, and am grateful for all that she has done to make me feel like a valued student and person.

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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