min read

A Teacher Who Changed My Life

When I was younger, I didn’t share my opinions and thoughts with others. I didn’t initiate conversations. I waited until someone told me it was my turn to speak. Today I am a student leader at my school.

I asked myself, what changed? As I reflect on this question I am reminded of my Year 5 teacher.

Mrs. W was a new teacher at our school. The first thing I noticed about her was her bright and caring personality. Her teaching style was different from my previous teachers. I remember once in class when the students were discussing apple juice vs. orange juice. Mrs. K decided to turn it into a class discussion. It was so much fun!

That was how our class discussions began.

Soon they became a feature of each week of our class. Once the topic was decided the students were given an opportunity to share and listen to the ideas. Mrs. K gave every student a name tag and told us to raise our name tag to speak up.

When I saw the other students sharing their opinions, I decided to contribute too.

Mrs K. made sure that we all had a chance to speak. She gave us constructive feedback on creating a judgment-free environment for everyone in the room. It made me think about how we were all responsible for the discussion. Her classes made me look forward to going to school every day. She was an amazing listener but I loved it when she shared perspectives from her life experiences.

When I was younger I focused on how fun her classes were but as I grew older I realized how much those experiences changed me. Unknowingly I gained lifelong learnings from my Year 5 teacher, like trusting your own voice and recognising what you are passionate about. I began to realize how much passion I had for public speaking and debating. These days I am collaborating with 6 students and 2 teachers at my school to redesign the consent education curriculum. Creating an inclusive environment so everyone can contribute is very important to me.

I look back on the opportunities I had in Year 5 to learn how to create a safe and trusting environment. I am grateful to Mrs. K for the lessons that have stayed with me to this day.

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