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Melissa Bonatesta, Science Teacher, Northern Cambria School District This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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The best educator I have ever had was Mrs.Bonatesta. She is a junior high science teacher, and is the kindest, sweetest, and most caring teacher that anyone could ever have. You know when you are forced to write stupid essays in school about who your favorite teacher is and why you like him/her so much? Well, every time I wrote about her. She is not like any other teacher. She makes sure each and every student understands a ­lesson even if all the students get it except for one. She will sit with that student and won’t let him/her leave her class or desk till they understand. She doesn’t help in a mean way like some teachers. She has this method of teaching that not only gets students to understand the lesson but also lets them enjoy what they are learning.

Mrs. Bonatesta makes sure each student feels safe and respected in her classroom. When I was in her class a student was ­bullying me and making fun of me. I ­repeatedly went to the bathroom crying. When she found out what was going on, she not only talked to the student and made the bullying stop, but she also kept me with her until she was sure I was doing okay.

Even though she isn’t my teacher now, we have remained close over the years. She is still someone I go to for advice – especially when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. One day after a class I was having a panic attack, and couldn’t breathe and kept crying. I didn’t know where to go or how I would make it to my next class, so I went to her room. Luckily she had a prep, and kept me there with her. She hugged me, cried with me, and told me “Nobody but God will ever know what’s going to happen.” I kept crying and crying then she looked at me and smiled and said, “I tell my boys this all the time,” (she has three sons) “and I know this is different for you, but life is tough so you have to wear a helmet.” Together we burst into laughter. The she called my mom who came to get me.

From that day on I have lived by that saying, and Mrs. Bonatesta and I still remain good friends. She’s still the only one I go to for advice or just to talk to because I know she is a person I am can trust and will give me good advice.

Even if this essay does not get chosen as a winner, I wanted you, the reader, to know I did not write it for some award, even though that would be nice. I wrote it to tell you that this woman is the best teacher in the world. She is the best teacher/friend a girl could ever have because of her honesty, teaching skills, and sense of humor.

Always remember: “Life’s tough, so you need to wear a helmet.”

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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