I actually have two teachers I would like to honor for Teachers’ Appreciation Week.
The first person was my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Bennie Campbell. Mrs. Campbell should have been the one who taught me how to read and write, but since I learned how to do both at age four, I was one of those kids. She was always insisting I make pointy, witch hat A’s when I wrote my name. Apparently, my curved, capital A’s just would not do! I finally told Mrs. Campbell I didn’t think it mattered what the letters looked like because I was writing my name regardless. I’m paraphrasing, of course.
The next challenge Mrs. Campbell had with me was reading. At age four, I learned to read on Go, Dog, Go– which we have classified as an Easy Reader at my library. Mrs. Campbell wanted me to read these Easy Fiction/picture books, like Tag and Zeke. I remembered being upset because as I told her, “I’ve already read this. Do you have anything else?”
Yes, Mrs. Campbell, has told me I was always one of those kids! Since graduating from kindergarten, Mrs. Campbell and I remained friends. She is a stroke and breast cancer survivor. Even though she didn’t really teach me how to read or write, Mrs. Campbell has taught me many other things- mostly how to love others and to realize your friends can be family if you want. Most importantly, Mrs. Campbell taught me when you hug someone; you can get a hug back.
The other teacher I would like to honor is Mrs. Martha Ann Bledsoe, my mom. My mother never taught me in an actual classroom even though she is a retired elementary school teacher. She is the one who sat down to read Go, Dog, Go over and over again with me until I could read that and other books to her. She watched Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood every day with me so I could learn my letters and numbers. She taught me how to write and worked with me on how to compose short stories and poetry. I still love to write because of her influence.
My mother has taught me how to be strong and compassionate. Teaching for 36 years is challenging enough, but imagine doing so while battling hearing loss. Hearing aids did not work for her nerve damage so in 1998, she was one of the first candidates for a cochlear implant. The surgery was successful with just minor fine tuning from the audiologist. My mother has also stressed to me how deaf people are the most discriminated against because their disability is not as visible as others. My mother fought against stereotypes and was at work just about every single day for 36 years. Mom is strong and fiercely protects her family. She is the best teacher in life I have ever had even though she was never one of my classroom teachers.
Mrs. Campbell and my mother are friends and have a lot of the same values. If I can be like either one of them or both of them, I think I will turn out pretty okay!