As we enter the holiday season, I always take some time to think of all the many things that I am thankful in my life. With the stress of life and all the rushing around, it is sometime hard to see the many things that make life special. I also spend some time during this season making an effort to show those special people in my life how much they truly mean to me and how much I appreciate their love and support.
Recently, I had the great pleasure and honor of thanking the teacher who had the greatest impact on my life. I was able to attend The Anywhere School training hosted by Fried Technology. The training was awesome and a great day was spent with some of my fellow iCoaches. At one point, we were asked to fill in some information on a Google sheet and I happened to notice a name that jumped out at me. I looked at Courtney and immediately started telling her my story about this teacher. My parents divorced when I was young and I really struggled with my dad leaving. It wasn’t a great feeling and I spent most of second grade hating school and begging my mom to not leave me at school each day. In third grade, that all changed because I was in Mrs. Kana’s class. Mrs. Kana is the kind of teacher I dream of being and the whole reason I wanted to teach 3rd grade. She was a first year teacher the year I sat in her room here at Parmley (originally called WES for Willis Elementary School). She cared very much about my academics, but what she did for my confidence as a person had a greater impact on my life. Every day, she made each student feel welcomed and loved. When she spoke to you, you just felt like you were the only person who existed at that moment. Mrs. Kana celebrated the smallest victories and encouraged you through the struggles. Being a member of her classroom was a great reward in my educational journey. As we all gathered back in the main room for lunch, I looked up and recognized her. I just had to let her know the impact she made on my life. I called her name and she looked at me. I said, “Mrs. Kana, it’s Ashley.” She responded back with “Castleschouldt.” She gave me the biggest hug, the same hug from my childhood that reassured me that all would be okay. I was emotional and could feel the tears welling up as I told her she is the reason that I am a teacher. Teachers, as we enter this next couple of weeks, do not forget the impact that you make on our students. It has been almost thirty years since I have been a student in Mrs. Kana’s room, but just seeing her that day brought back every good feeling I had about school and myself.
“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”