Saturday, May 1, 2010

Teachers Who Make a Difference

I've just completed my first ever Book Tour which included four states, six television interviews, a radio interview, and three book signings. But after all of that excitement, I was inspired when I checked my email after my trip. At the end of my book, Finding Mrs. Warnecke, I ask for readers to write me and tell me about their own "Mrs. Warnecke," the teacher who made a difference. I returned from my trip to hear from Susan, a teacher in the Virgin Islands:

Hey Cindi,
I tore through your book lent to me by my boss, Edney Freeman, Virgin Islands Teacher of the Year, and enjoyed it thoroughly. My Mrs. Warnecke was a teaching nun, Sister Mary Remy Revor, who I didn't encounter until I was 30 years old. She taught fabric arts at Arrowmont School of the Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and in two weeks was able to undo all the negative messages I had received over the years about what art is supposed to be. "Never use pink and yellow together," was the rule according to my elementary school art teacher. The unspoken lesson in college was that men are the artists and women are the models. I dropped out of college after three years because I couldn't see the point.

Sister Remy taught me to take pride in my own work and to believe in myself. She shared everything she knew, no holding back secret tricks. With that positive experience under my belt, I continued taking art classes during the summer and eventually returned to college where I earned BFA Honors, was accepted into the MFA program as a teaching assistant (they paid me!) and started teaching high school art. Certification courses led to an MAE, but all the pedagogy in the world pales in comparison to the example set by Sister Remy. This is what I bring to my students.

Susan Edwards
Charlotte Amalie High School
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

(Thank you, Mrs. Warnecke and Sister Mary Remy Revor!)

9 comments:

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younghe10 said...

I enjoyed this post! I know each teacher probably says this, but I truly hope to be the teacher who makes a difference for students! It is always awesome to see the look when a student finally "gets" something that has been holding them back.

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