“Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.” --Albert Einstein
My first 2 years of teaching were some of the hardest months of my life. There are a few people who were there from the beginning, and helped me become the teacher I am today. Without them, I'm not sure I would have the same outlook on the education world.
Two of those people are Cynthia and Marina. These wonderful ladies were the New Teacher Project Mentors at Radcliff (when there were still new teachers! :) Cynthia was my "official" mentor teacher, but they both helped all of the teachers at Radcliff. Both of them became mentors, friends and both had a huge impact on my life.
Cynthia spent countless hours helping me set my room up (the day before school started!), coached me through teaching a bilingual class, and always reminded me about the real reasons I was in the profession. The day I finished new teacher project was a bittersweet day. I treasure those 2 years, and everything I learned.
Although Marina wasn't my official mentor teacher, I felt like I was lucky enough to have two! She was always at Radcliff, and we would always stop to chat and catch up. If she was working in her office, I would always sit down to run ideas by her or update her on my life. She was always, always interested in everything I was doing. She offered to model lessons or sit with me to make a lesson more interactive. Mostly, I always appreciated how she always had the time to talk or listen to me vent, no matter how busy she was.
She was an amazing teacher, and we were all thankful to be able to get some of those ideas and skills passed onto us! The Albert Einstein quote above always reminds me of Marina. She always taught as if everyday with us and our students was a gift. She was great at reminding us of the valuable gift we were given, and always encouraged us to use it to empower our little community.
Today, our little Radcliff community lost Marina, to cancer. It was a long, hard fight. She was strong and fought it for many months. Although we miss her, it is good to know that she isn't feeling pain anymore. My heart is heavy today, as Radcliff felt a little empty today. Yet, while I spent the day remembering her, all I could think about was how I felt encouraged to push through the budget cuts, the frustrations, and the lack resources and just remember that teaching is not just a job. It is a gift. When we enjoy teaching, our students learn more. Marina wouldn't have it any other way.