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Teacher Appreciation: Above and Beyond--how she saved my life

Joined: 5/5/2015
Posts: 1
I had known of her as long as I can remember. She first became my teacher in 7th grade, and she taught me again in 8th grade and in 10th. It was in 8th grade when I realized just how incredibly special Mrs. Fleischmann was.

I always enjoyed her class, her teaching style, and the way she pushed me to work hard and to love the material. I stopped in her office sometimes to say hi or get a lollipop. And then my parents got divorced. It was a messy, terrifying, police-involved night, and I was unfortunate enough to have to watch it happen. The next day my thirteen-year-old self went to school, and continued as if nothing was wrong. Mrs. Fleischmann saw through me; I looked okay but she knew there was no way I could be. After lunch, she pulled me out of class, took me out for ice cream, coaxed me to talk, and hugged me while I cried. She didn’t flinch when I told her what had happened the night before, and she promised that she would always be there for me, if my parents couldn’t or wouldn’t be. That was the moment she became my biggest role model.

She checked in with me every so often in school, to make sure I was doing okay. She invited me over to her house when she knew I needed a break from mine. She put her neck on the line countless times by making phone calls to my parents to push them to do what was best for me, whether it was letting me go on my high school’s retreat or stay an extra month in summer camp. She went above and beyond what I had expected or even dreamed someone to be willing to do for me.

She didn’t judge me, she never called me names, and she never ridiculed or criticized me. She was one hundred percent on my side, and to a certain extent, she saved my life when no one else was there.

Things with my parents settled down, and life got better. I spent less time at Mrs. Fleischmann’s house and more time at my own. But she continued to teach me, to infuse me with a love of learning, and to make sure I was challenged in a class that really was below my level. Most of all, she continued to inspire me with everything she did: the way she taught, the way she joked, the way she interacted with her kids, even just the way she talked.

She wrote my letters of recommendation for college. She traveled abroad and made sure to visit me. At the end of this year, she’s leaving my high school and moving to a different country. When I heard the news, I cried. I cried because the school I know longer attend is losing a pillar of wisdom, caring, and trust, and one of the greatest female teachers the school has ever known.
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