Friday, June 11, 2010

My Inspiration

Mrs. Zumbro.

I received my schedule the summer before my freshman year of high school. One of the perks of having an older sister was that she could give me the dirt on all of my teachers. After taking a look she pointed at my algebra teachers name and said "oh no, Mrs. Zumbro! You need to get out of her class, she gives so much homework and is so mean!" Being a freshman "fish" was scary enough, but then I had the added stress of knowing I would hate one of my teachers that made it worse. I went to the counselor the first day of school to get a schedule change, but they didn't take having a mean teacher as a valid excuse for switching classes, so I was stuck.

That counselor did me a bigger favor than I ever could have imagined.

I survived the first day of school, and Mrs. Zumbro. As the year went on I heard the phrase "get out a clean sheet of paper and a pencil" daily in Mrs. Zumbro's class. Her class was very structured and we knew better than to talk. We had homework every night, and quizzes at least weekly.

But we learned.

I learned to love algebra. I was really good at it. And by the end of the year I loved Mrs. Zumbro.

My junior year of high school I was put into another teachers class for Algebra II, and I went back to the same counselor to get a schedule change INTO Mrs. Zumbro's class!

A few years after I graduated college, I went back to get my teaching certification for math. I had to study math material I hadn't seen in a few years and had forgotten. I thought back to my favorite math teacher and decided to look her up for help. Luckily Zumbro isn't a very common name, so she was easy to find! My family joked that she was going to get a restraining order against me for stalking her. lol

She remembered me and was nice enough to meet me at a restaurant to help me study. And I passed! When I got a job teaching in the same district as her I called again to let her know.

I recently ran into her the last day of the school year at our admin building while I was signing up for summer school. I introduced her to a co-worker and explained that she was the reason I am now a math teacher. She was signing her retirement paperwork after 41 years of teaching!!

The next day at my campus I was about to go into a meeting and looked over to see Mrs. Zumbro in our office. She had stopped by to give me a gift. Wrapped in tissue paper was a pin that she had worn as a math teacher, but she said she would no longer need it now that she had retired. She said I was the perfect person to give it to.

She was right, it is perfect.

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