I am a freshman at the University of Toledo studying to become an English teacher. I have always enjoyed school, but it wasn't until my freshman year of high school that I realized how much I loved English and school in general. I was an okay writer going into high school, but I wasn't great with grammar. Mrs. Salisbury helped me improve so much that by my junior year, I actually won a writing contest. On a non-class specific standpoint, I was just worried about my grades come high school and struggling to find my place in the world and who I wanted to become.
Mrs. Salisbury was my high school English teacher from my freshman year all the way through my senior year. She also taught Advanced Composition my junior year and speech my senior year, so by the time I graduated, I had spent a lot of time with her. She is extremely special to me because she was always there for me no matter what. It didn't matter if I was struggling with English, school in general, or something personal; I knew I could talk to her and receive honest advice. I also knew that she wouldn't judge me or turn me away if I was upset and that if I needed to, I could just go to her room and cry. She never made me feel bad for interrupting her plan period or asking her to come in early to talk. She never made me feel unwanted. She always made sure I knew my value. Mrs. Salisbury really pushed me to be a good student because I didn't want to disappoint her, and even though she always reminded me that it was okay to get a B as long as I tried my hardest, I wanted to keep straight A's because I wanted her to be proud of me. I don't even think she realized the impact she had on my grades because I never told her that I wanted to make her proud.
When there was drama between girls in my grade, I knew I could trust her ear to listen without judgment and give me honest advice for each situation. She wasn't the type of person to just sit there and nod her head acting like she was listening. She gave me her full attention and always made sure I was okay. One thing that has really stuck with me is an incident that happened in my junior year. She allowed me to come into school on a day that was cancelled to talk to her. She knew I was upset, so the first thing she did when I walked in her room was give me a big hug and ask if I was okay. She then proceeded to talk to me and tell me that what other people say doesn't define who I am. She made sure I knew my self-worth and values and reminded me how much people care about me. Ever since then, I have considered her my closest confidant that I can go to for anything. She has all of my respect, and she is a large reason that I have decided to go into education. Mrs. Salisbury puts her students above her and always makes sure our needs are met. She doesn't let any student fall behind and always makes sure we are giving our best work. Because of her, I learned to always put forth my best effort and to ask for help when I needed it. This has helped me tremendously in college because she showed me that it was okay to ask for help.
Over the course of my senior year, I was in Mrs. Salisbury's room constantly just to talk to her. We had so many conversations about anything and everything. She told me how proud she was of me and that she couldn't wait to see and hear of all the things I would accomplish in the future. She told me she was going to miss me next year, but reminded me to stay in touch and that I wouldn't lose her as someone to talk to. She told me she would always be here for me. She told me how great of a person I was, how important I was and that even if I didn't find my group of people in Russia, that there were bigger and better things waiting for me out there. She made me more confident in myself because she had confidence in me. She made me feel important and cared for, and I hope she knows how grateful I am to know her. She made me feel ready to take on college, and even now when I'm struggling, I think back on everything she told me, and I feel a little better knowing I have her in my corner.
Mrs. Salisbury has also helped me so much since I've been to college. I have been having a rough transition, but she checks up on me, and asks me how I am doing. She told me she was praying for things to get better for me, and I don't even think she realized how much that meant to me- that she thought of me enough and cared about me to pray for me. She constantly is showing how much she cares for me, and knowing that I have her still if I ever need anything makes being away a little easier. Anytime I have been home, I have gone to her classroom, and the first thing she does is give me a hug. I'm having lunch with her over my break next week, and that has honestly been the one thing getting me through these last few weeks because I know I'll be able to go talk to her, and I know it will make me feel so much better. The other week, I walked in with a smile, and she said, "I'm so happy to see you smiling," and I don't know why, but that made me feel like I was on top of the world. It told me that she was worried about me and wanted me to happy. She showed me that my happiness made her happy as well, and the fact that I had that impact on her made me feel so amazing.
I am grateful to Mrs. Salisbury for many reasons. To name a few: she's a large part of the reason I picked my major, she pushed me to work hard in school, she has written me recommendation letters that helped me receive my scholarships and when I got those scholarships, she was the first one I told and the first one to give me a hug and tell me how proud she was, but really the main reason goes back to the fact that she changed my life by showing she cared. I really did hate going to school my junior year. My best friend went to a vocation school, so I didn't really have a close friend at school anymore, and there was a group of girls that became their own exclusive group which made me feel like an outcast, and I never wanted to be at school. I was honestly miserable, and all I wanted to do was go to a community college or somewhere that I would be alone, but the one thing that kept me at Russia was Mrs. Salisbury. I didn't want to lose that relationship I had built with her, and she really did make school better for me. I knew if I needed her, all I had to do was walk up to her room. She retaught me the reasons that I loved school and why I wanted to become a teacher myself. One of the easiest questions I have been asked several times in college is who's your role model, and the answer is always Mrs. Salisbury. I don't even have to think twice about my answer because she has been the one person I look up to since my freshman year of high school. She is my biggest role model and my inspiration to teach students not only school stuff, but how to be a good person, too. There are so many other examples I could give, but I don't think I would ever be able to give enough details to show how much she means to me and how much she helps not only me, but all of her students. She is an amazing teacher, and an even better person. I hope she knows how big of an impact she had, and still has, on my life.