It was the eighth grade and she was new.  In a small school like ours, having just one class of each grade, newbies were always intriguing – teachers and students.  Would they fit?  Because lordy knows, some didn’t and they soon moved on.

But she was fantastic.  She was so much more than your typical teacher.  She was young, energetic, super personable and approachable and taught us instead of speaking down to us.  She was a dream teacher –

who decided to grow her family that year.  Thankfully the timing was on our side, she finished up with us at the end of the school year – her students (young as we were) even threw her a little baby shower – we adored this woman.

It was the last year we would all be together in our tiny little school.  The last year we would all be together before being forced apart by new school boundaries.  I was one of the handful that continued on to a new and different school, separate from the friends I had made.

I got quite the surprise as we started the following school year – that dream teacher, she had come along as well!  The only catch was she was now only my math teacher.  Quite fitting really; my favorite teacher for my favorite subject.  She convinced me to pursue math as I went forward.  She convinced me to take part in a french enrichment program – she inspired me to excel.

And 14 years later, she unknowingly inspired me to apply for pre-education at Memorial University.

My admissions letter was inspired by this woman; I was inspired by this woman.  A woman who thought she was simply doing her job, but who instead changed the lives of her students.

At least this one.

So even though there are limited positions for teachers in this province; even though an academic advisor (x2) has tried to deter me from pursuing education – Mrs. Andrews/Foote lit a fire in me 16 years ago that has only grown stronger and brighter.  A need to change a child’s life like she did mine.  For as I struggled through high school after losing a near and dear aunt and watching my mother battle severe breast cancer, I continued to excel – especially in math.  Taking AP grade 11 & grade 12 in one year!  I continued to excel at everything I touched – because a woman decided to believe in her students.

All because a woman decided to teach.

I became aware some time ago that she no longer teaches, instead she works as a department head for the school board – it was quite a blow.  Knowing children would no longer encounter her; knowing children would never experience her sunny disposition, no bullshit attitude and most importantly, her commitment to her students.

Susan – you are greatly missed in the public school system – even if they don’t know, I do.

And if by chance, she ever reads this:

THANK YOU!  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  For you did so much more than simply teach your students.  You taught them to believe in themselves; you showed them what they were truly capable of; you showed us that there was greatness in all of us – we just had to choose to see it.

Oh!  And B-E-D-M-A-S . . . let’s not forget that! 😉

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