Educator of the Year

April 3, 2009
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It was my first day of high school. I had my face buried in my schedule and a backpack twice my size. I was late to about half of my classes, receiving a warning for each one. After lunch, my face was right back into that schedule trying to find an English nine class. I stumbled up the stairs as the bell rang for class. Great, just what I need--another late, I thought. I finally reached the English nine classroom nearly crashing into a fragile woman.

Mrs. Frohmader. I knew from that first English class, it would be an eventful semester. She was always a chipper woman, with the fragile appearance of nearly breaking with just a smile. Almost every other sentence out of her mouth caused the class to erupt into uncontrollable giggles, keeping our attention and lightening up the day.

Aside from her comical side, I could definitely see the fun she had with being in front of the class. When she wasn’t spreading smiles, she was continuously energetic with her teaching. Sure, she had her bad days just like everyone else, but that never stopped her. I don’t think I ever looked at the clock once when Mrs. Frohmader was teaching. She had a way of pulling me in. She got me interested in English even when I despised the class before.

Since I was still in that “find-your-place-in-the-world-or-be-a-nobody” stage, I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of Study Hall, which followed after my English period with “Froh”. Then, luckily, I found myself spending them daily in her room. It was nice fading into the background while everyone filed out from my English class then reappearing to strike up a conversation.

Froh was like a long lost friend hiding behind a fragile figure, just waiting to come out when necessary. I distinctly remember sitting on top of a desk, swinging my legs while I told her about my goals in life or drama that every high school student encounters. She would give me her input, even though she was busy running around the room trying to prepare for the next class. It was never a one syllable answer. She would go into great depth, so my freshman mind would understand, but always added a laugh. Although Mrs. Froh and I haven’t had many encounters since that freshman year, I can still pull out stories like it was yesterday.
Froh wasn’t fond about signs of affection, while my friends and I who bummed out in her room were. It was our last full day of freshman year and we decided to bend her rules. She was sitting at her desk, trying to make herself look occupied, and we all circled her in. She let out a nervous laugh and told us to get out of her “personal bubble.” As if that triggered a thought, we all dove in to give her a hug yelling a mess of “We’ll miss yous”. Thankfully, she took it in stride and laughed, mumbling about how the hug lasted too long. It was never a dull moment.
I don’t know any other high school student who can say a teacher helped them find their place. I don’t think my place will ever be defined, but Mrs. Froh helped me find myself. It sounds a little straightforward, but she let me know that being yourself is the right thing to do. If a teacher can increase your love for a subject and help you through high school, then that’s a true educator.





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