Photo CC-By Rob North
There have been so many people, events, and things that have made me the learner that I am today. I guess its best to start where my learning career started. From Kindergarten to Sixth grade I attended a small country school known as District 14 or Richland Elementary School. Going to a country school made a huge impact on my learning over the years. While I attended District 14 there were never more than twenty kids enrolled at the school, and my class consisted of two other students and myself. Going to country school benefited my learning in two very important ways. Firstly having only three students in your class allows you to have more one on one time with your teacher. Even though there was only one teacher in the school, we still were able to have a lot of one on one time with our teacher. It was easy to ask questions and get extra help if you needed it. There was also a very open and welcoming atmosphere. The school had definitely created a safe learning environment for all the students. if a student understand something, and the teacher was busy you can be sure another older student would be there to help. There was a lot of mentoring and tutoring between the students. The second thing that really contributed to my learning was the fact that it was a one room school house. This meant that at all times of the day different classes were going on not very far away from you. As a third grader you could listen to sixth grade lessons and start to develop complex understanding of not only your lessons but future lessons as well.
Photo CC-By Robert S. Donovan
The second contributing factor to the learner I am today was a woman by the name of Pat Mitchell, or Mrs. Mitchell as she was called in the classroom. She was my kindergarten teacher, a teacher’s aide, the school librarian, cook, and so much more. It was Mrs. Mitchel who instilled in me many important values. As my kindergarten teacher she had a huge impact on my views of learning. The one learning area she really impacted was reading. I am so thankful that she took the time to sit down and teach me how to read. She taught me that reading can be fun. She also showed me how reading can open up many new worlds and cultivate knowledge and the imagination. Mrs. Mitchell also continued to encourage me in my learning long after I left her kindergarten classroom. she made conscious efforts to help me in any way she could. She also pushed me to go outside my comfort zone and try things that were uncomfortable to me.
Photo CC-By Sharon and Nikki McCutcheon
Everyone has that one teacher that they absolutely hated in high school. For me that teacher was Mrs. Owen, my Junior High English teacher. Mrs. Owen was very strict and it was a startling change from the laid back atmosphere of country school. Right from the start she pushed us way out of our comfort zones. She jumped into topics that many of us new very little about, and seemed to have no mercy when it came to grading our papers. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I realized just how much I appreciated everything Mrs. Owen had taught me. In fact it was partially because of Mrs. Owen that I decided to teach English. Being in her class pushed me to try harder. She never let us give up, even when we were convinced that there was no way we could complete the assignment. She showed me that sometimes having someone who shows no mercy is exactly what you need in your learning life. Having teachers and mentors who won’t let you take the easy way out, won’t let you give anything less than your best, and pushes your learning limits can be the greatest blessing. It is these people who give you the drive to keep going.
Photo CC- By Tulane Public Relations
One week before my junior year we moved across Nebraska to a tiny little town I had never heard of before. I’ll just start off by saying that moving so close to the beginning of your Junior year of high school really sucks, but it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Before moving things had been a little rough at my old high school. Here I was welcomed with open arms. I soon made several friends and joined the volleyball team. I’ve never been a very outgoing person. I was the kid that sat at the back of the class, did their homework, and went home. All that changed when I was asked to start tutoring one of the students in my class. Soon I was involved in the classroom. I was adding to the classroom conversation, working with groups, and helping out my fellow peers. Moving helped me to become a more involved student, and more open to discussion within the classroom.
Photo CC-By Sean MacEntee
Its amazing how many people affected my learning. My senior year I had a math teacher by the name of Mr. Sharp. Math has always been a subject that I struggled with. If I could find an easy way out of it I would take it. By the time I was a senior I could barely do math without a calculator. All that changed when I walked into Mr. Sharp’s class. He was a firm believer in working out a problem and making sure each one of us knew how to do it. I remember the first time he asked me to multiply fractions without a calculator. I had no idea what to do. I probably sat there and gave him a blank stare for five minutes. It was then that he made it his mission to make sure that I understood math. He took extra time to explain assignments, and different problems. He also encouraged me to never give up. He pushed me to do something he was sure I could do. Math is still a struggle for me, but I understand it so much more than I did before. He showed me how determination can make a difference in how and what you learn.