There is no such thing as a self-made man. Every one of us, no matter how talented, smart or independent, has someone who helped raise us, who taught us the things we know, and who molded us into the people we are today. Parents are our first teachers. They teach us to walk and talk, as well as the basic lessons of life. However, they are not the only ones. Just as the school is often referred to as a second home (Rangel 1), so do the teachers working there deserve the title of second parents. My teacher, Mila Sanders, had the greatest influence on me because she was strict yet just, a role-model for our entire class and an excellent pedagogue, capable of bringing fun and sparking interest even towards such a dry and emotionless subject such as math.
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Mrs. Sanders stood apart from the rest of the teachers due to her attitude towards us, and towards her duties. We had different kinds of teachers at school. Some were overly strict and enjoyed bullying us for no good reason, dispensing harsh punishments for things that did not deserve it. Others were too shy to exert authority, even when the situation in class was getting under control. Mrs. Sanders struck a perfect balance. She never punished me for no reason, but when she did, I knew exactly what I did wrong. There were no hard feelings, for both of us, and I admired that in her. From here, I learned to avoid personal feelings or preferences, to act justly.
Whether in class or outside of it, Mrs. Sanders conducted herself with dignity and grace, befitting that of a noblewoman. She moved gracefully, never raised her voice, and was able to pacify a class of children getting out of hand with a mere clap of her hands. Despite being middle-aged, she looked very youthful and had excellent taste in clothes. She was not very rich, and yet the simplest of fabrics were looking wonderful on her. The girls from our class often copied her, with varying degrees of success, and so did I. One could say she taught me how to wear clothes and how to behave in public.
Mrs. Sanders was a very dedicated teacher. She was very knowledgeable not only in math but also in other subjects and disciplines as well. She put very heavy emphasis on using mathematics practically. At the beginning of each chapter, she told us which professions the required extensive knowledge of the topic we were about to study and the tasks that were closely related to it. That way, we knew we were not wasting time learning something obscure that would never have any use in real life.
Mrs. Sanders remained a teacher both inside and outside of the classroom. She often conducted an extra-curricular math class, for students who missed out or did not understand a particular subject. She did it free of charge, during her free time. Imagine someone doing this in the 21st century, where people demand money for everything that requires effort. We knew that what she did, she did for us, and we appreciated it greatly.
There is a famous quote, which says that “I am indebted to my father for living, I am indebted to my teacher for living well” (Alexander the Great 1). I feel the same way about Mrs. Sanders. She had a great influence on me, both as a student and as a person, and that influence was nothing but positive. She made me into a better person, and for that, I am grateful to her.
Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great Quote. Web.
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Rangel, Julietta. Students find School to be Second Home. Web.