Spending a day in her shoes

Growing up in a small town offers opportunities that are special and unique. I moved to Hobe Sound, FL in August of 1998 when I was in 5th grade. I entered the traditional classroom setting after being homeschooled by my mom all my life. I faced some challenges and grew up alot during those first years back in the states. I had a very small, petite and bubbly teacher for 5th grade whose name was Mrs. Hudson. For sixth grade I had Ms. Armstrong whom I am still good friends with today. I will forever cherish my days in seventh grade with Mr. Holden whose phases will never die... "underwater basket weaving", "underwater bb stacking" (??) We always laughed at him :) And my favorite... he fondly referred to us as his "tweenagers". It was a good year. But, that is not what this post is about. It is about my 8th grade year with Mrs. McElwain. I am not one of those people that can recall exactly what I was wearing on a certain day and the way I felt that day, etc but I can give a few memories. She always read to us after lunch. I loved when she read "The Rats of Nihm"! I can still remember the rats plotting their escape :) I remember her being tough but always reasonable and if you kept the rules, she was on your side. I remember a few of the girls always saying how much they hated her and I could never understand that! (they spent a regular amount of time in the office too). She was serious but had a fun side too and made me love school that year.
Junior High Luncheon (2002)

Now, fast forward 8 years. I graduated from college with an elementary degree and was ready for my semester of Student teaching. When I first entered college I wanted to teach junior high. As the years passed, I began looking more towards 4th and 5th. Everything was lined up for me to teach in a different class and then it fell through and Junior High opened up. I truly believe God's hand was in it because I found myself in the classroom of Mrs. McElwain with a class that I fell in love with. I timidly began teaching wanting to make sure I followed all the right procedures and reaching all the requirements of the school. As time went on and I was more comfortable in my role as student teacher, we grew close and our early mornings (usually I arrived around 6:45 or 7:00) were times of deep conversation, frivolous laughter and tea drinking. I looked forward to those mornings so much and I miss them terribly. She is an experienced teacher who constantly works to stay relevant to what her students are interested in. She would come to me say "I heard so and so say this... what does that term mean?" and then I would "interpret" for her and we would have a good laugh. I love her sense of humor and the way she deals with students. She never takes life too seriously. She was quick to reassure me and offer help when I needed it. 

Class Christmas party (2010)

I have been blessed to sit under both her teaching and her training. I feel like I am 10 times the teacher I would have been because of her guidance. Thank you Mrs. McElwain for investing in me as a student and as a teacher. 


Jamie said...

I loved this! Great job writing a worthy tribute...

Love you!

Travis said...

She remains a gifted teacher, and class trip was awesome with her. I don't have a lot of specific memories, but she's probably my favourite teacher from elementary.

Leah said...

Jenny - A great post! All 3 of my kids liked her as a teacher! Even David did and you should know that is saying something! :))

Allana Martian said...

I never had her, but your post reminded me of my 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Deckard. I'll never forget her reading "The Scarlet Pimpernel" to us! She was my favorite teacher!