My name is Bridgit Walters and I believe teaching is about inspiration. Inspiration doesn’t just go one way, it goes both. The student and the teacher can be the inspirer.
Bellevue Elementary, first grade, Mrs. McSwaney’s classroom, who would have thought my life’s plan, would start here. There were only a few first grade teachers in our small school, and mine was Mrs. McSwaney. She was cheery and smart and happy and fun. She was also patient. In my opinion she is the picture of what a teacher should be. Her teaching methods weren’t any different from what every other teacher did, it was just the way she carried herself in and out of the classroom. When she had to go on maternity leave, we got a substitute teacher (of course). For that time period, I learned to appreciate the kindness our teacher had. So when she came back it was joyous.
The end of the year came and past, but I ended up developing a friendship with Mrs. McSwaney. Some days in the summer I would help her with getting her classroom ready or just helping her with her new baby. I knew that she was someone that I wanted to be like. All of the other years in school, I never realized that I had never made a connection with any one of my teachers like I did with her. That’s what made her class so special. Still to this day, we are in contact and we’ve seen each other a few times, so she still is affecting my life. And I think I affected hers just as much as she did mine.
When I become a teacher I want to be able to be like that with my students. I want them to feel comforted and I want them to see me as a teacher but I don’t just want to be seen as that, I want to be seen as more. It’s not about having power to be a teacher, it’s about being able to get kids to want to learn and you as a teacher can’t be afraid to learn from seven year olds.