My favorite teacher!
Of all my teachers growing up, my all time favorite was my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Bushnell. To this day, I can remember the positive, fun and creative energy she brought into the classroom. At one point, I remember feeling sad for the other 5th graders with different teachers because in my heart she was truly the best! Thanks to good ol' facebook, I recently reconnected with her after 20 years so that I could properly thank her for the lifelong impression she made on my life.
It is crazy to think that there are things that I do as an adult, that are a result of her. For example, she used to play classical music in her class and I still listen to classical music to calm me down. When I told her this, she started to laugh and said, "20 some years ago, I read a magazine article talking about the calming effects of classical music on kids. I thought what the heck, it can do no harm, so I tried it! I think your class may have been my first year trying it and it worked so well that I continued it through my 30 year teaching career!" She then asked me, "Out of curiosity, what classical music do you enjoy?" I told her, "Pretty much only composers that I heard in your class as an 11 year old...Mozart, Beethoven and Vivaldi" Who would have thought!
As I continued to think about my 5th grade experience it also made me wonder if she had anything to do with me going to an arts college after high school graduation. It makes me curious because she was the first person to truly introduce me to the beauty of art and creativity. Due to her passion for art, she incorporated it in a lot of our learning assignments. It is funny because I am naturally more left brained (strategic) than right brained (creative). I remember working with her week, after week, on letting go of my need for control and unlocking my creativity. I am by no means an artist but I do find it ironic that after all those years I finished my bachelors with an art degree that had a focus in advertising, the strategy behind artistic design. I can't help but wonder, did she have something to do with that too?
At the end of the day, I think what I most remember from Mrs. Bushnell's classroom is the environment her presence created. To me, she is the epitome of what it means to be a leader. Her positive energy made her approachable. Her exuberant personality ensures her students that it is ok to try and fail. The important thing she taught me is that we explore possibilities. Finally her life long learner attitude is what keeps her curious about "what's next!?". To this day, as a retired 30+ year teacher she is back in school part time getting a second bachelors degree, even though she already has a masters degree!
My challenge for you this week is to think and ask yourself, "who is my Mrs. Bushnell?" If you haven't already and it is possible to do so, I encourage you to attempt to reach out to them and thank them. Teachers are overworked and under paid but make a life long impression on our youth. It is never to late to share with them how they changed your life!