My first impression of Mrs. Ward was that she was extra strict and mean. I will never forget the time my brother came home crying to my mom, telling my mom that Mrs. Ward was mean. I was so scared to get her as my teacher. I prayed the whole summer of my 7th grade year that I would not get Mrs. Ward as my teacher.
I will never forget the last day of 8th grade. I was on my way out the door, going to my bus. Mrs. Ward worked her way through the crowd of students, grabbed me and said to me, “just remember, everything I did was for the best and because I loved you” and then she hugged me. My own mother wouldn’t tell me she loved me; we were supposed to assume that she loved us. She gave me a big hug. I knew she meant those words then, especially because that wasn’t her first time saying those words to me. She also hugged me at the end of the eighth-grade social and told me, “thanks, I had so much fun; I love you.” These are words I will never forget and words I use at my lowest moments.
It took me until I left the 8th grade to appreciate Mrs. Ward. While I was in her class, I didn’t understand that she was trying to encourage me to push to my highest potential. It appeared as though and I couldn’t stand her, but I just wanted her to understand me, to accept me. I used to think Mrs. Ward did not like me; I felt like she was picking on me. As I matured, I realized Mrs. Ward knew I could do better, so she would be hard on me because she cared and she wanted me to improve. I remember when we were practicing for the CRCT, I was talking and playing and she told me to pay attention and in response, I told her I knew I was going to pass the CRCT. She told me, “I have no doubt you are going to pass, but I want you to exceed.” I remember I had low confidence in solving word problems. I could do anything else, but word problems were not my friend. Mrs. Ward would break the problem down so well, I would feel confident to solve the problem.
I will always remember Mrs. Ward’s tough love. It helped me stay well-disciplined throughout high school. Even now, as an adult, trying to start my life. I remember her telling us about a girl she knew that inhaled the helium out of a balloon because she tried to fit in with her peers and her heart immediately exploded. That taught me not to follow a crowd, not to give in to peer pressure, even if it seems fun or you seem lame that you refuse to participate.
I want Mrs. Ward to know, that I appreciate what she has done for me and my family.