“Mamo, nie chce isc do szkoly, ja sie boje! ” That is the first thing I told my mom in Polish before walking into my classroom on my first day of school. I was terrified, and I told my mom that morning that I was scared and I didn’t want to go to school. Growing up in America and having English being my second language was extremely difficult for me as a child.
I remember crying everyday before school because I dreaded the embarrassment of not knowing English and the humiliation put on me by my peers. First grade was the hardest year for me throughout my academic life.I knew a few things to say in English; basic words and phrases but not enough to carry on a conversation with someone. My teacher decided that I needed one on one help with another teacher. She told me I would be in classroom with the other children for a few subjects and the rest of the day I would spend alone with another teacher. At first I hated the idea, I wanted to be in the classroom with all the other kids. I wanted to fit in and start making friends.
All throughout elementary school, I took one on one English with Mrs. Lynch.She was a tough devoted teacher with a heart of gold.
She was a petite older lady with short grey hair. What I remember most about her was her colorful holiday sweaters. They would always distract me from my work because they were so colorful and outrageous. Mrs.
Lynch pushed me to succeed everyday. I remember constantly getting frustrated when I couldn’t pronounce or spell a word correctly. Mrs. Lynch would make me repeat or rewrite the word until I got it right. She would always say, “Kamila, good job but let’s try it again and see if you could do it better this time. I would always get so angry with her; I thought she was a mean old lady that wanted to make my life miserable.
But in reality all she wanted was for me to succeed.She made sure that everything was flawless before we moved on to the next lesson. My class with Mrs. Lynch consisted of reading, writing, spelling and grammar. Every other week I got to pick out a book from the library and I had to read a chapter to Mrs.
Lynch everyday. I remember that reading took up most of our time. I was a slow reader, and every time I didn’t know a word I would have to write it on the blackboard.
After I finished reading the chapter I had to go back to the words I didn’t understand written on the blackboard, and define them. That was my favorite part; getting to write on the blackboard while Mrs. Lynch sat in my seat.
It made me feel like I was the teacher. Like I was in control. She would sit in my little seat and I got to stand with a marker in one hand and a pointer stick in the other. Although my Mrs.
Lynch knew how to make class fun and was a great teacher, I didn’t like her very much in the beginning.I was always very shy as a little girl and she pushed me to speak English when I didn’t want to. I felt completely out of my comfort zone. Mrs. Lynch quickly realized that I was uncomfortable and she started bringing me treated to class.
She knew I was a sucker for cookies. She would also ask me lots of questions about my life and what I did the day before or what I was going to do after school. I wasn’t sure if she asked those questions because she was nosy or if she wanted me to feel more at ease with her. I knew that she was trying her hardest for me to like her and it was working.We quickly became good friends.
As the years past my English was becoming excellent, I surprised myself and my teachers at how good I was doing in school. By 5th grade I was almost as fluent in English as the other kids in my grade. I wrote stories and poems without too many spelling mistakes. My speech was almost perfect and I made more friends than I could have even imagined. I never missed a homework assignment and I studied so much that I was at the top of my class with all A’s and a few B’s now and then. Mrs. Lynch taught me many things throughout grade school.She not only taught me English, grammer and writing; she taught me not to be ashamed of my nationality.
I always wished that English was my first language, now I take great pride in my culture. Being bilingual gives people a great advantage in America. And Mrs. Lynch taught me to be proud of that.
I still keep in contact with her, and write to her now and then. She still tells me how proud of me she is and what great accomplishments I’ve achieved. Mrs. Lynch was a great inspiration to me and she made a great impact in my life. She is one teacher that I will never forget and forever cherish.