This year, a ton of teachers retired or quit, so our grade got new teachers. For the first day of school, rumors went around for who the teachers were. People were already interested in our English teacher because her name was Ms. Pringle. Personally, I pictured the guy on a Pringle's can to be our teacher. When I met her, I hadn't made any judgments yet. I couldn't make up my mind. She was tall and always had matching outfits. She had a good sense of humor, sarcastic sometimes but, not overboard. Ms. Pringle let everyone know the first day, of her poster marked in the back of the room. 'Its all about me' is what it said. When class started, the poster was a rule, and she enforced it. That was intimidating at first, but we all learned it was reasonable. I noticed how she teached differently than others. She made us understand stuff from a real life perspective, not so much a academic, to the point perspective. I liked that. But, besides that, it was just English class, until one day. My pet had died the night before, without warning. I was shocked, sad, and angry all at once. That day at school, I hadn't talked much. Just a few words, that I had to. No one really noticed it, until I got to English. Ms. Pringle pulled me into the hallway. I walked out, with a defiant look on my face, thinking I was going to get lectured or yelled at. Gentle she touched my shoulder and I looked up at her. She told me how she noticed I wasn't speaking and didn't seem myself. My look changed. She asked if I was alright and what was wrong. A sigh let out like someone knocked it out. I told her all about how I felt and that today I just didn't feel like doing anything. I vented to her when I didn't even have to. But, she listened the whole time and told me how she understood and knew the feeling. After class, I felt better. My opinions on her had now formed. She didn't have to ask me what was wrong, she didn't have to notice I wasn't myself or even notice me. But, she did. She did beyond what a teacher is required. After that, I noticed her. How she always joked with everyone but was serious when it was needed and always got the point across. She brought her own personnel experiences into teaching everyone and made us understand. From that day on, she always helped me when I needed it. Whenever my grade was low, she pushed me to change it. Whenever I didn't seem ok, she helped me through it. I felt thankful, so I took the time to write her a thank you letter, right before Christmas break. When we came back from break, she told me almost everyday how much it meant to her and how she always keeps a copy of it with her. We've grown closer since then and its great. I don't have anyone to talk to at home really, and not many friends I feel comfortable talking to about certain things. I feel Ms. Pringle is more than a day to day teacher. She's a real person. Most people don't even imagine teachers coming out their classroom when schools over. Like, that's the only place they ever are. But, Ms. Pringle is real. Sharing her life, her knowledge, her experiences, she helps us. Not only helping us learn, but helping us live. She said to me that the thank you letter I wrote for her, was a best teacher award all by itself. But, no one else knows I wrote it besides her and I. I think she deserves the best and winning this would be the ultimate thing for her. She's the one who introduced me to my favorite writer, Doug Wilhelm, that showed me TeenInk, which has been good for me since some of my things have already been posted! But, even if she doesn't win, that doesn't change who she is to me or how great of a teacher. I think the limelight isn't always shown on teachers, especially those worthy, but It should be. And Ms. Pringle deserves to be in it.
February 5, 2009