Every person has one. An event or a person that changed the course of your life for the better. I have too many events and people to name, but the one I’d like to mention today is my grade one teacher, Mrs. Kerr.
My love for books started when I was a 4 year-old, who learned to read by memorizing The Three Little Pigs. It was my favourite story, and my mother read it to me nearly every night. Eventually, I began to recognize the words from the story in other books. By the time I left daycare, I could read and understand the meaning of books, and write words.
I didn’t start collecting books until grade one, when the Scholastic book orders became popular. It was there that I discovered the series Herself the Elf, a board book featuring elves, fairies, and, most importantly, lift-the-flaps.
I bought all three books in the series, and anxiously awaited an opportunity to buy the fourth.
Mrs Kerr took note of my affinity for books and reading, and she always asked me (a very shy and quiet little girl) to read aloud in class because I was as she put it, a “strong reader”.
Toward the end of the year, her daughter, Shannon came to visit our class. To my amazement, Shannon had the fourth book in the Herself the Elf series, and she let me read it. That made me even more excited to buy my own copy.
Then Mrs Kerr told me that the fourth book wasn’t available through the Scholastic order. She bought Shannon’s copy through another source.
I started to cry out of disappointment, and Mrs. Kerr comforted me by saying, “Don’t worry. You have plenty of other books to choose from.”
So I tearfully accepted that I wouldn’t own Herself the Elf’s Autumn any time soon and picked out something else.
On the last day of school, Mrs. Kerr gave me a gift, wrapped in colourful paper. I opened the box and found my very own copy of Herself the Elf Autumn.
When I turned the book over, I noticed that she wrote a note for me on the back.
(It’s been 25 years, but I’m pretty sure it said something like this)
What a pleasure it’s been to have you as a student!
I hope you have a wonderful summer.
Keep on reading!
Looking back, I can see how that one act of kindness has influenced my life. Quiet kids often get lost in the shuffle because they don’t make enough noise.
But for some reason, Mrs Kerr noticed me. She noticed how much I loved to read books, and she encouraged me to continue to enjoy them.
Being in her class taught me that I could speak in front of a large group, even when I was afraid, and, that liking books is not a bad thing–in spite of what my classmates said.
She made a difference in my life because, by her actions, she showed she cared about me.
John Maxwell wrote, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
I have had a lot of great teachers in the years since, but it was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Kerr, who laid the foundation for my love of reading.
Wherever you are, Thank you for being one of my game-changers.
Have a great day everyone,