There are a few teachers who manage to leave their fingerprints on your mind, your heart, your spirit. They manage to craft the student like a lump of clay, forming your mental processes, testing your abilities, challenging your expectations. Ultimately, the teacher is required to shape the student and trust the next teacher to make a few more adjustments and improvements as you evolve to a mature student. Hopefully, that student maintains a love of learning and quite possibly there is a mark left from that teacher whose fingerprints left the deepest impressions.
I was so excited on my first day of seventh grade. I knew Mrs. Cochran was going to be my homeroom and English teacher; she had been my sister, Emily’s seventh grade teacher four years earlier. I had heard so many stories from her, and I knew she was my sister’s favorite teacher; she was a teacher who left fingerprints on her. She often spoke of her support and encouragement. Emily told me that Mrs. Cochran had a unique way of making every student feel like an individual. As the year went on, I began replacing my sister’s stories with my own memories of Mrs. Cochran’s class. The seventh grade wasn’t my favorite year; it was a hard time for me, but Mrs. Cochran’s contagious smile and funny, upbeat personality always made me feel better. My personal study habits and personal drive to excel in classwork are traits that I owe to Mrs. Cochran’s mentorship. Before Mrs. Cochran, I didn’t get good grades or believe I needed to.
Mrs. Cochran’s class was always fun, from quiz and test reviews to explaining new concepts. In class we were always laughing and smiling. Mrs. Cochran was always making jokes and making the content more relatable. Looking back, I now realize that she made learning fun. We had this class clown named Will, and everyday he tried to make jokes, but instead, Mrs. Cochran would have funny comebacks and jokes. She never got frustrated; she never got off track. She was never mean, and I am sure that her technique left an impression on a child who challenged her. During Christmas Mrs. Cochran played Christmas music all homeroom and put on a video of a fireplace; it was her funny little way to make the classroom feel more homey.
There was never a moment in Mrs. Cochran’s class where I felt embarrassed to ask a question if I didn’t understand something. We read The Outsiders as a class, and at the end of every chapter we discussed and analyzed what had happened, and it really helped my classmates and me understand the story. If we still did not understand the material, she made sure her classroom was always open during lunch so she could sit down with you and use different methods to make sure you understood because she understood that everyone learns differently. Mrs. Cochran took the time to learn how each student learned best, and she showed us the best ways to study and learn for our learning style. She had a special touch, knowing just how to manipulate lessons so the student ended the day knowing more about themselves.
In class Mrs. Cochran would do different things to spark people's interest. Some days we would watch videos, do hands on activities or read articles. At the start of every class as a warm up we watched an inspiring video, and she’d have us write about what we took out of the video. Doing that really made me see the good in the world. It was such a unique way to shape the way we viewed things.
Mrs. Cochran always took the time to get to know her students. She knew about my parents both being in the military. My dad was deployed for four months while my sister was a student in her class, and right as my dad got home, my mom left for seven months for intel school for the military. My sister knew she was always able to talk to her about what was going on. Four years later, I had Mrs. Cochran, and I knew that I would always be able to talk to her about things that may be bothering me. That grew my faith in her touch, her ability to affect me.
I will always remember Mrs. Cochran because of her fun classes, contagious smile, and upbeat personality. Mrs. Cochran should be Educator of the Year. There are thousands of teachers but only one Mrs. Cochran; she is special because she makes learning fun and has a way of making everyone engaged and really understand what is being taught. She has managed to stay passionate about teaching. The district is small and students share stories from over the years of how this particular teacher left her fingerprints on them.