It was the time of fresh markers, new backpacks, and alphabetized name tags. It was the time of year every young kid looks forward to. Except for me. I was the new student who just left her life behind at her hometown in Minnesota.
This was the day I dreaded. I had no friends by my side to play jump rope on the playground, and no clue how to find my way my favorite old art room where I used to make cut out, glitter butterflies. But things soon changed for my pig-tailed, eight year old self. I was now a ‘Wildcat’ at Lake Country School in Hartland, Wisconsin.
“Welcome to second grade, Sarah!” The change was my teacher Mrs. Kumlin.
Mrs. Kumlin helped me in way I never thought a teacher would, and in a way I will never forget. She became a true friend and almost a second mom. It didn’t hurt that there was always a smile on her face either…almost as if she was surrounded by everyone she had ever cared about. The six foot tall runner introduced me to my current best friends, helped me with long division, and simply made the once terrifying environment truly feel like home.
Mrs. Kumlin did many things for not only myself, but the rest of my class as well. The mother, baker, and friend taught us how to love to learn and devoted her life to the job; but in her eyes it was not a job, instead a hobby. The compassion she had for helping kids like me made me realize that it is always important to follow your dreams and do what you love. As a senior in high school, I have also learned that it is hard to find these teachers—the ones that are put on this earth to spread knowledge.
My charismatic, compassionate, and cheerful teacher taught us hard work. Our project of the year was a research project on any sea animal around the world. It was the first research project most of us had done, but she made it ten time less daunting. Instead, she turned the project into something fun, as if it was a game and something we all would enjoy. She gave us the opportunity to visit the local aquarium, learn about our incredible oceans, and chose a creature we felt interested in and wanted to invest our time into.
Mrs. Kumlin gave me confidence which is something hard to achieve at such a young age. She gave me, and many others, the confidence to present these projects that we invested many weeks into, to parents, other classmates, and friends. I will always keep the green painted, clay sea turtle on my bookshelf close to my heart, even though it’s now missing a leg or two...
I can confidently say this was the start of my endeavour of education. I have learned many things since second grade, but will never forget who taught me the foundation of question asking, standing up for myself, and knowing that there’s nothing a good laugh can’t fix.