Student Nomination Story

I walked into my first day of chemistry feeling scared, awkward, and out of place. The teacher was at the door welcoming everyone when I arrived. I noticed that her smile lit up the room and her eyes twinkled. While attendance was being taken, she greeted everyone individually. I expected my teacher to be a cranky old lady, but instead I got a kind, motherly, funny, spunky, and extraordinary teacher. Mrs. Angela Koch is the best teacher that I have ever had. I have walls that surround me that keep me from getting hurt. On the night of parent-teacher conferences, those walls began to crack. Mrs. Koch offered to stay after school with me twice a week and she let me come in during lunch. I was terrified. To top it off, Mrs. Koch looked me directly in the eye and said: “You don’t open up, I hope that will change in a few months.” I was so surprised that I nearly fell out of my chair. I was secretly happy. No teacher has ever said that to me before. I hoped that I would get something out of our relationship. I gave Mrs. Koch a hard time, but she never gave up on me. I gave her one word answers when she asked about my day, but she never stopped asking. She tried her hardest to make me feel comfortable. I decided to drop chemistry second semester. After we discussed my options, Mrs. Koch told me that if I dropped her class, then I had to stop in and say hi every once in a while. I was so perplexed by her statement. After much deliberation, I decided to go talk to her. It was awkward at first, but it was the start of a beautiful relationship. I was upset that day and I wanted to talk about it. I was hesitant to tell Mrs. Koch what was bothering me, but she was so kind. I left her classroom that day feeling like I was on top of the world. A few weeks ago, I asked Mrs. Koch why she did what she did. I will never, ever forget her answer. She recognized that I was struggling and needed guidance. She even told her husband about me! Mrs. Koch is like my second mother. She was concerned when I didn’t eat my lunch. When I sprained my ankle last year, she was one of few teachers who expressed concerned. She believed in me when no one else did. When I was reluctant to ask my math teacher for help, Mrs. Koch encouraged me. I never had a teacher advocate for me like that before. I will never forget the day she gave me a hug. It reminded me of a mother hugging her child. She pushes me to be the best student, person, and Christian that I can be. At the start of the school year, I had to decide whether I wanted to go to school in-person or virtual. Mrs. Koch was the only reason why I chose to go in-person. I don’t get a lot of support from my parents, but I know I can depend on Mrs. Koch. Mrs. Koch taught me more about life than all of my other teachers combined. I learned that it is OK to make mistakes, to always be kind, and most importantly, vulnerability is the key to good relationships. I am about to graduate in a few months. While I am excited, I am a little sad. I will miss Mrs. Koch a lot. I will never forget the conversations we had and the lessons she taught me. Thank you so much, Mrs. Koch.

Clare Dicks

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