Ms. Schimenz is the type of teacher who draws you into a subject and makes you excited to learn. She has a way of motivating students to complete their assignments. She is able to accomplish this by assigning projects that are intriguing and fun to complete. She is also passionate about each student’s willingness to learn.
Walking into the first day of middle school was intimidating with the new building, new students, and new teachers. It was stressful trying to navigate my schedule and get from one place to another in enough time. But as soon as I got to social studies and was introduced to Ms. Schimenz, I suddenly felt relieved. The setup of her classroom was comforting. She had lamps scattered around the room and different knickknacks. The moment she greeted the class with her booming enthusiasm, I knew she would become close to my heart.
As the year progressed, my fondness for her class increased. Previously, history had been a boring subject and I questioned the importance of learning information from hundreds of years ago. But, Ms. Schimenz changed my perspective. She transformd me from someone who disliked history to someone who was eager to learn about it. She did this through her creative stories.
Most students, at some point during their middle school years, will read the Odyssey. It can be difficult to understand (due to it’s Greek language and mythology); however, Ms. Schimenz ensured that every one of her students interpreted it correctly. She did this by standing in front of the class and pouring all the energy she was capable of into describing Odysseus’ journey back home. She outlined each of the characters perfectly, so each student could envision them in his or her head.
No matter what took place during class, it was always entertaining. Besides listening to Ms. Schimenz’s stories, we also did projects. One of my favorites was when the class spent a day painting Egyptian tombs. We looked at photos and researched what they were used for and what beliefs the Egyptians had towards the afterlife. I still have the small, ceramic tomb I painted five years ago on display in my living room. Every time I catch a glimpse of it, I am reminded of the teacher who loved her job and students immensely.
Besides having Ms. Schimenz in class, I also formed a relationship with her outside of social studies. I would stop by during lunch or after school and we would end up talking for nearly an hour. We had conversations about friends, family, and our lives.
I never got the opportunity to have her as a teacher in seventh and eighth grade, but I frequently visited her. Seeing her soft smile in the hallways could turn any bad day into a good one and I am forever grateful for that.
After becoming so close to her, leaving middle school was hard. I had become, what she would refer to as, the “light” of her life. On the last day of school, she handed something to me in a brown paper bag. When I opened it, tears flooded to my eyes. It was the most delicate, white and blue, heart shaped ornament. To this day, I keep the ornament in a special place in room, and whenever I feel down or discouraged, I bring it out. It is a gentle reminder of how much Ms. Schimenz impacted my life and made me the person I am today.