I found out earlier this week that the dear woman who was my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Judy Gwinn, passed away. As I scrolled through numerous Facebook friends’ posts commenting on what a wonderful educator she was, I was overcome with emotion. As I read remarks about how much she impacted their lives and how they were better people because she was their teacher, I nodded in agreement with all of their sentiments.
Then, I tried to remember something she taught me. Anything. Was it History? Was it Math? When I closed my eyes, I saw her petite frame; many of us towered over, even in the 6th grade. If I strained a bit harder, I heard her deepish, husky voice, somewhat out of place for her petite body. I saw her bright eyes – green, I think. I remembered her reading The Witches to us, and enthusiastically coming down from her reading stool when the book grew really intense. I remember an instance of her fainting and how worried we all were when it happened.
I couldn’t remember any content she may have passed on from a textbook, but I clearly remember her so gently guiding and prodding us along the way. I still feel her guidance with me now.
It initially frustrated me that I couldn’t remember any one specific thing she taught me. Perhaps it’s that she taught me so much that it would be impossible to remember one thing only. This whole episode leads me to a place of comfort.
Even in a world filled with test scores and AYP, learning is emotional. It is personal. It is impactful. Every child deserves their Mrs. Gwinn.