Thankful for my Teachers at Brockport Central School District | Mrs. Steinebach & Mr. Follman

Friday was the StoryCorps National Day of Listening also known as Thank A Teacher Day. Reflecting on my early education, I’ve had amazing teachers, and each has left lasting imprints on my life. Far too rarely have I expressed my appreciation to them, so here’s a small step in that direction:

Kindergarten: Mrs. Steinebach

I am going fishing (kindergarten, age 4)

Thank you, Mrs. Steinebach/Ms. West for your warmth and understanding. I remember being overwhelmed by the school experience and was too shy to speak much in class. I remember my parents sending my older sister Chika with me to class one day to teach you and the other students how to say my name correctly. I don’t remember what I had been called up until that point nor of clinging to your skirt but I know I did the latter because I still have my report card, where you mentioned it.

Nap time was my refuge, although, I think I’m the only one who actually slept. That was, of course, until I made my first friend, Meghan Schuth who helped me come out of my shell. Thank you for never making me feel bad about needing speech therapy classes to pronounce th, r, and L correctly, unlike my siblings who teased me mercilessly.

Thank you for saving some of my work to include in my permanent writing folder, which I continue to treasure until today. And thank you for teaching us the alphabet in sign language. I was just reflecting on this with Chika this past week and she also remembered that you taught her class some sign language as well.

First Grade: Mr. Follman

My family (age 5, first grade)

Thank you Mr. Follman for always pushing us to excel. I remember (or at least I think I do) racing with you to complete the mad minute math problem worksheets and our medieval castle unit. I think I was one of the first students to reach the highest level and be knighted.

I remember learning many patriotic songs including the Marine Corps anthem. Songs I would sing to myself or with my siblings and whose lyrics still echo in my mind today. I’ve always thought that if I ever joined the military that I would join the Marine Corps. I don’t really have a good reason for that especially when my friends say I’d be better off in the Air Force or Navy other than the positive influence you as a former Marine had on my life. And thank you for introducing us to ice fishing!

To be continued…

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Author: Ify Okoye

Muslim woman, RN, & rebel with a cause.

6 thoughts on “Thankful for my Teachers at Brockport Central School District | Mrs. Steinebach & Mr. Follman”

  1. My wife tells her fellow teachers that the children in her class will remember them for the rest of their lives. It’s a huge responsibility, but it also very very rewarding.

  2. Yusra, I knew from an early age that drawing would never be my strong suit 🙂

    Tauseef: Welcome to the blog. Yes, in thinking about writing this series, I can see the powerful influence many of my teachers have had on my life, it’s truly amazing.

  3. I love the drawings too lol.
    This reminds me of when my 8th grade teacher read us a letter he wrote to his favorite teacher who was dying from cancer. He was my favorite teacher and sometimes I wish I could tell him how much influence he had on me.

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