Life Lessons: Inspired by teachers


Most everyone you ask will admit to having doubt and questioning themselves in situations which is a normal part of life. As a student in school I certainly had my fair share of butterflies before I was to sit for an exam. No matter how hard I studied or prepared I would still have a nervous anxiety which helped me in some strange way because it made me always prepare ahead of time. I never went into an exam cold. I always made sure I was prepared and would do whatever it took by studying attentively and being disciplined in always doing my homework. My favorite subject as a student in school was mathematics and I enjoyed learning and solving the problems. I will never forget my ninth grade algebra class which was my most favorite class for two reasons. The two reasons were because I loved solving word problems with algebraic formulas and because I had a crush on my teacher, Ms. Mixon who was a great teacher and a pretty woman. She never knew I had a crush on her but I did and she inspired me to try real hard and do my best. I was an A student in her class and I got almost a perfect score on the regents exam scoring a 98 out of 100. I remember even getting nervous taking her exams because she modeled them as if we were taking a regents exam. I had her class second period and I had gym class first period and after all these years that have gone by I still remember running around the track visualizing algebraic formulas in my head as I was thinking about her exam I was about to take. In retrospect I realize I had a lot of nervous energy that always kept me grounded and humble.

Another teacher that inspired me was my seventh grade art teacher Mr. Cristofel. In his class I learned a lot about artists and different forms of art expression. Although I didn’t have a natural ability in Art class I always tried my best and respected my teacher’s opinion and his advice. He seemed to take a liking to me and always encouraged me to try my best and I felt good when he complimented my work and had it posted in the display case in the school hallway with other students artwork. I remember one of my drawings was a cubism depiction of baseball objects including a bat, mitt and a baseball. In his class I remember we learned about different artists and their paintings and one of my favorite’s was Christina’s World by the popular artist Andrew Wyeth.

I was a very impressionable kid during my school days and very shy. I felt overall that I was respected by my teachers and fellow students and considered a good kid. My days in school were pretty uneventful as I was a typical student. My mother always made sure I completed all my assignments and that I always prepared for my exams. I was encouraged by my teachers from day one when I was fortunate to have a very kind and caring kindergarten teacher and assistant teacher. Their names were Mrs Blackbear and Mrs Rubin and they with the help of my mom encouraged me with learning the basics of mathematics and their unrelentless patience really made a difference for me. I owe them a big hug for all they did for me which certainly affected my relationship with school and my desire to learn and do my best.

Another teacher that I liked and learned about Shakespeare and the classics was my seventh grade English teacher Miss Feintuch who was a very sweet woman and a very dedicated teacher. She always made her class exciting and reading the classics very interesting. She helped me with writing and helped to spark my interest in expression through the written word.

As an adult I find it refreshing that I can think back to my early school days and remember some of my experiences as if it was yesterday. I really owe a lot to my parents and my teachers for helping guide me and teach me about academics and in turn about life.

My son is learning about mathematics, science, history, art, music and consumer science in school as he is a fifth grader and I always remind him that he needs to always respect his teachers, listen to them and always complete his homework assignments and take his exams seriously. Maria works with him during the week making sure he is always completing and understanding his homework and when I have the chance I spend time with him with his math assignments. I always emphasize to him how important it is to be respectful and to always strive to do his best. He does have times where school seems overwhelming to him but with guidance and support from us and his teachers we are hoping we can bridge the gap so he can have a positive learning experience and succeed in the class room.

One teacher I learned a great deal about heart and putting it all on the line was actually a coach who taught mathematics. I never had him as a teacher in the class room but he was my cross country coach in high school and he taught me a lot about believing in myself and working hard to accomplish goals. He had me believe I could train to run 3 mile races and he was right. We had tough training workouts but I learned a lot from him and the training and I became very dedicated and focused. He instilled in me the desire to try my best and to believe in myself and I owe him a lot for his wisdom and his encouragement. He was very helpful to me and he gave me a wonderful opportunity when he recruited me for his team. His name is Al Berkowsky and I was very fortunate our paths crossed.

School was a great experience for me although I was shy and never had the opportunity of going to the prom. I learned a lot and was grateful for all my teachers as I always had a good teacher in all my years in school. I was very fortunate. Now my concern focuses to my son and his schooling and we are blessed that he has very kind, caring and understanding teachers. They have a lot of patience with my son because of his autism and his behavior concerns. We are hoping as the years go by and he becomes more mature he will be able to find his niche and everything will come together for him because he is truly a wonderful kid and despite his difficulties he is a very bright young kid and he is a wonderful little boy who is the main focus of my life. When he has a bad day I also have a bad day. I want us both to always have equally good days for now on.

Matthew, If I could give you some words of advice I would say the following to you:
“Never let criticism hurt you, Always take it in a positive way so you will learn and grow from it. You have wonderful God given abilities and although you have some struggles you are not alone and you should never feel alone. Take it for what it is and make it work for you in a positive way. If you can turn a negative into a positive you will be way ahead of the game. Have faith and courage and trust in your abilities and always respect others and learn from them. Life is about learning, growing and experiencing and trusting in others and in yourself.” “May you always find joy in your life and always hold on to love in your heart for you are a child of God and you are very special and you deserve to find happiness in life.”

With Love always,

Your Dad,

Edward D. Iannielli III

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