Katie Mgongolwa, a young mom and teacher, shared a powerful story about a much-loved fifth grade teacher. Writing in the Chapel Hill News, Mgongolwa described her mother’s unexpected encounter with Mrs. Elder and wondered how her mother had recognized the teacher after so many years. After inviting Mrs. Elder to dinner, Mgongolwa wrote, “I understand, now, as a mother, you never forget the people who made your kid feel happy and safe.” Mrs. Elder (I thought I had the copyright to that pseudonym), taught her students well. As Mariale Hardiman has written so aptly: “Setting the emotional climate for learning may be the most important task a teacher embarks on each day.”
Mgongolwa has set an admirable goal for herself, to be a kind, adventurous, and patient teacher like Mrs. Elder. I believe she’s off to a great start and has the potential to be THAT teacher, the one who makes students smile! More on the delightful Mgongolwa tomorrow!