Student Nomination Story

When I first walked into chemistry on the first day of my junior year at Arrowhead, I was not happy. Chemistry was a class I thought I would hate and probably fail. As soon as the bell rang, Mrs. Koch gave everyone a smile that lit up the room. She seemed cheerful and I thought I would like her. We went over all of the boring first-day of school things, but Mrs. Koch showed off her chemistry skills with a demonstration. I was pleased we would be blowing things up after all. I struggled with chemistry, but I was too shy to ask for help even though Mrs. Koch encouraged me to ask questions and to get extra help if I needed it. One time, while working on chemistry homework in class, she walked around to see if anyone needed help. I said I was fine, but much to my discomfort, Mrs. Koch looked at my work anyway and saw I struggled. I am glad she did. I grew slightly more comfortable with Mrs. Koch, but I still had my guard up. Just as I predicted, she eventually found out what was really going on. My mother and I talked with her at the parent-teacher conferences and it became obvious to me that she cared. Her exact words were, “Clare doesn’t open up to me. I’m hoping that will change in a few months.” No teacher has said that before. Mrs. Koch was sweet and offered to help me after school and during lunch. She didn’t have to do that; she has kids and had papers to grade. Her devotion and commitment amazed me. Mrs. Koch taught me, and still is teaching me, it is okay to make mistakes. She was so patient and gentle with me. Slowly, my walls came down. She said something else to me that I will always remember: “You have a pencil and an eraser, and look...they work! Don’t be scared to write something down.” I also learned vulnerability may not be such a bad thing and when used appropriately, it can help a relationship. I had many teachers, but I only had a few who helped me so willingly and gently as Mrs. Koch did. Thank you so much, Mrs. Koch. Because of you, I won’t fail chemistry and I learned something about myself in the process.

Angel Koch

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.