Two years ago, I remember walking into my homeroom class anxious to meet my new seventh grade teacher. As I entered the room I knew this teacher was going to be special. Mrs. Skinner greeted me with a smile and respect. At the time I could tell she was very excited to start teaching at Christ the Teacher School. The class grew quiet as she began to share about being in the Army and about her two children. Mrs. Skinner was a strong person and held her ground as a teacher. One thing that stood out to me the most was that she did not accept bullying of any kind.
I unfortunately, only had one class with her that year and it was religion. I looked forward and was excited to go to her class. She taught in a way that captured everyone's attention. Mrs. Skinner made every bible lesson relate to real life experiences. She is strong in her faith, and I began to look up to her as a person. After class one day, I stayed behind to continue a conversation about the day's lesson. Mrs. Skinner was very friendly, kind and spoke to me as a young adult. I had full trust in her after that conversation. When eighth grade came around, I was excited to see I had her for English. Mrs. Skinner was my role model. I listened to everything she taught and was very observant; time passed by so quickly in her class.
I was bullied throughout all my middle school years, but eighth grade became unbearable. I started to give up on school and my social life. Losing hope and faith, I turned to Mrs. Skinner for guidance. We spent time one day during lunch in order for me to tell her what was happening with me. When I told her about the bullying, she was very shocked, upset and sad for me. I remember Mrs. Skinner telling me I was a beautiful strong young girl and very kind. This nice compliment helped me. After that talk, she did everything in her power to make me feel safe and happy. She informed the principal and the guidance counselor so they knew what was happening and to help keep an eye on the problem. Mrs. Skinner gave me a journal, and she told me if I needed help or wanted to share something with her, to write in it and place it on her desk as I left the classroom. That way, no one would see me talking to a teacher, as that is not a cool thing to do at my age. She also called my house one Sunday to check on how I was doing. By her doing these heroic acts of kindness, she made me feel safe and helped with my confidence. The bullying settled down towards the end of the year, and I started to feel like myself again. I didn't feel worthless anymore; instead I felt powerful. Without Mrs. Skinner’s love and kindness, I don't know where I would be today.
During this horrible time that I was going through, Mrs. Skinner was also dealing with a difficult period in her personal life. What amazes me is even though she was having a bad time personally, she was still there for me. She showed me strength, courage and how to forgive.
Mrs. Skinner is powerful and strong with her words. Unlike other teachers, when something was wrong she would let us know. She would give us speeches of how to do the right thing and be respectful. The two major things that she stressed the most were respect and bullying. Mrs. Skinner believes that everyone is equal. Her speeches during class empowered me to be a better person. One thing I liked about her class was she never singled out a person; she talked to the whole class as a unit because no one is perfect. She always reminded us that she loved all of us. Her strength, patience and love makes me want to be like her when I grow up. Mrs. Skinner is well deserved for being “Educator of the Year.” Her faith, love and her honesty help show what a caring person she truly is as an educator. Mrs. Skinner will inspire so many more students to come, as she has inspired me. I will begin volunteering at Exceptional Care for disabled children next month. I’m doing what she inspired me to do; I am giving back I am a better person because of her.