Who was or is your most inspirational colleague, and why?
I’m going to take the easy way out on this question: there are boatloads of colleagues who have inspired me over the years.
I’ll start with Laurie. Laurie had been teaching for years when I came along, and I’ve always striven to be more like her – not only in my teaching, but in life in general. She has, hands-down, the best attitude about teaching that I’ve ever seen. Laurie loved her students fiercely, and they knew it. She retired a few years ago, but I still think of her when making decisions for my own classroom. Laurie taught me that no matter what you do, do it with your children in mind. They are the reason we’re there.
Another great role model for me was a teacher named Karon. During my first year of teaching, I was hanging around after school, trying to come up with a bulletin board idea, but drawing a blank. Karon was on her way home as she passed me in the hallway, but she immediately threw out a few suggestions, dropped her stuff, went back to her classroom for supplies, and spent a ton of her own time helping me come up with the best bulletin board display I’ve ever had. As a one-time occurrence, that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but that’s just how Karon was. If you needed help with anything, she was there. Karon taught me how important teamwork is. She was one of my favorite teammates, because we worked so well together. My strengths and hers balanced each other perfectly. She was not only an amazing colleague, but I considered her a wonderful friend, as well. So many hearts were broken when Karon passed away unexpectedly; she will always be loved and missed.