Joining My Heroes

Kinnison3Sheri Kinnison is a veteran of the U.S. Navy; she served for 5 years as a Master-at-Arms and started her education degree in 2014. She is graduating with honors from the University of Houston-Victoria on May 14, 2016 with her Bachelor of Science, Interdisciplinary Studies. For employers, she has applications submitted to schools and interviews set up for a job next school year.

This is her story…

The following teachers—some of my heroes—inspired me to become a teacher. These teachers inspire me because they did more than provide us with valuable knowledge; they cared and went the extra mile to help us both understand and interact with the subject matter.Kinnison2

  • Mrs. Crater (9th grade, Algebra 1)
  • Mrs. Rhodes (7th grade, Science)
  • Mrs. Rose (6th grade, English)
  • Mrs. Gonzales (11th grade, English)
  • Mrs. Yates (12th grade, Ceramics)
  • Mrs. Fowler (6th grade, Reading)
  • Mrs. Beran (7th grade, Texas History)

Mrs. Gonzales taught me how to write effectively—giving me the knowledge, skills, and confidence to pass the writing section of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).

Mrs. Yates took the time to work with me and carefully piece together a piece of my art that had shattered. This piece of art that she inspired helped me to win a contest and $200 scholarship. She taught me, quite literally, to never lose hope even when everything is in pieces.

Mrs. Rose was the only teacher that ever wrote me a referral, and boy did I dislike her when I was a student. She always pushed me so hard and, when I passed the course, she helped me understand that it was only through hard work was that achieved. Each time that I passed her in the hall after that, she would ask how I was doing, and it meant so much that she even cared to ask.

Mrs. Rhodes, knowing that Science was one of my weakest subjects, simply refused to give up on me. She made Science interesting, hands-on, and even fun; she was so engaged with the subject herself that I actually started to enjoy Science.

Mrs. Beran inspired me to love Texas, and I’ve been intrigued to learn about Texas history ever since she put in so much effort into making our classroom alive.

These last two teachers have had a tremendous impact on my life.

Mrs. Fowler inspired my love of reading. I hated—absolutely hated—to read as an elementary student, and I was almost held to re-complete a grade because of my frustration with reading. When I was in the sixth grade, Mrs. Fowler (with our Librarian, Mrs. MacDaniels), took the time and effort to scaffold my reading to grade level. They were able to help me determine my interests and find me books that I enjoyed reading. Eventually, I moved to the American Girl® books, then the Dear America books, and so on. By the beginning of the 7th grade, you couldn’t find me without a book in my hand—all because those two amazing educators took the time to ask me what I liked and to help me.

If not for them, I would be a totally different person.

Kinnison1The last educator, Mrs. Crater, is very near and dear to my heart. She, formally, taught me 9th grade Algebra. Math was my absolute worst subject, and, until her class, the highest grade I ever achieved in the subject was a C. There are many different ways that Mrs. Crater motivates her students; she is at the building by 6:30 every morning, makes herself available to work with students before and after school as well as during lunch and her prep period. Mrs. Crater never gives you an answer; she helps you to think critically to get there on your own. Math is a difficult subject for many, but Mrs. Crater successfully brought fun into math using songs, pictures, videos, and other forms of media. When I finished Mrs. Crater’s class with a B, I was not surprised this was my highest grade in Math I’d ever received.

Mrs. Crater has been cheering me along for as long as I’ve been in school.

During a few practicum assignments, I had the blessing of getting to observe her classroom multiple times—prior to her fight with cancer forced her into retirement. Mrs. Crater is still battling cancer, and now I have the chance to cheer her on to victory—as she did with me in my education.

Mrs. Crater wants, so desperately, to get back into the classroom and that is the kind of teacher that I want to be—one who never wants to leave.

If I can be half the teacher that Mrs. Crater was (and is) for me, I will consider my career successful.

As I enter the profession, I plan to do my best each day to incorporate the lessons and methods I learned from these great educators into my practice.

Kinnison4

Sheri (R) with Mrs. Crater at UHV’s pinning ceremony on 5/3/2016.

These teachers—and all teachers who take an interest in students who are struggling—deserve to be appreciated every single day. I am ever so proud (and a bit intimidated) to join their ranks and #FollowTheirFootsteps on May 14th when I graduate.

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