Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Letter to My First Teacher

Dear Mrs. Werkheiser,

The end of the school year is a time for reflection. I find myself reflecting on not only the current school year, but my own school career as well. At 31 years of age, I have learned to read and write in elementary school, survived middle school, graduated high school, worked my way through graduate school, and now spend my days teaching children. You can just imagine how many teachers I have had! I can remember the name of every one of my teachers. Mrs. Miller was first grade. Mrs. Douglas was my kindergarten teacher. Mrs. DeVito was 4th. I could go on and on. I'm pretty lucky because I have always had teachers that cared and were kind. However, very few teachers made a lasting impact on me. I find that the teachers that shaped my future and lead me on my path to becoming a teacher, were ones that listened, understood me, and protected me.

You were my very first teacher! The picture attached is from preschool graduation in 1988. More specifically, it was taken on June 8, 1988. I remember that date because I felt like a rock star. It was my preschool graduation and it was my birthday! You may not believe me, but I actually remember a lot from preschool. Maybe it's the pictures that help refresh my memory, but I like to think it was the way you shaped that class and cared for all of us that made it so memorable. I remember we performed a version of The Night Before Christmas. I was a sugar plum fairy with Dorothy. I had to wear a pink leotard and a tutu. That tutu was extremely itchy and scratchy. I remember hating that costume. You sat up front with a microphone and narrated the entire play. I can only imagine how humorous it must have been to watch. Bobby was Rudolph. I remember a boy named Jesse had a crush on me and brought me flowers one day. I was mortified. I remember pinching Lindsey's fingers in the crack of the door. I remember Land of Make Believe...our field trip. I remember I was given an award on Preschool graduation night for Gym. It was a clear container filled with Hershey Kisses. However, what I remember most wasn't the activities or the events. I remember your blonde hair and your soft voice which made me feel safe. So many children are lucky and fortunate to have had you as a teacher.

I am positive there are many other former students that remember how you impacted their lives. Congratulations on your retirement!


J. Stacey Ely
Good Shepard Nursery School
Class of 1988
**Mrs. Werkheiser and I currently work in the same school district. She is retiring at the end of the school year.