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.