My husband and I were typical first time parents. Our oldest daughter, who is now 26, seemed practically perfect to us  She was a great student and got along well with others. Her first grade teacher, Mrs. Tyrrell, had the insight to see that she could be more.
Each day as Mrs. Tyrrell taught the class a reading concept, our little girl was reading ahead in the workbook and doing the assignment. She wanted to complete the whole workbook, and it would have been easy for her to do. Mrs. Tyrrell felt those concepts needed to be taught, not just read. Rather than allowing her to work ahead or move to a second grade reading program, she asked if she could encourage her to write stories. She taught us that writing is so much more than reading. Things such as what comes first, second and last, punctuation, sentence structure, and creativity are all concepts that can be learned through writing but not reading. We told her that sounded great. She said, “Then, there is still one problem …she doesn’t want to!” We laughed and gave our permission for her to assign story writing to our daughter.
The next afternoon she wasn’t too happy with any of us when she came home from school. She muddled and grumbled through her first story. Each day her writing got better and her stories became books. Eventually she added illustrations and even a copy write page! She even dug through my fabric box for material to make binding for the book covers! All while in Mrs. Tyrrell’s first grade class.
Her creativity continued to grow along with her academics. In high school, she was elected student body vice president of advertising. She is very artistic, always working on a new project. Today she has a college degree, and majored in advertising and journalism! Mrs. Tyrrell could see in her what we as parents were missing- the right side of her brain! We feel she opened a creative new world to our organized, get the job done, daughter. She saw potential in our “perfect” daughter and was willing tell us.
All these years later, Mrs. Tyrrell still knows and loves each of her students individually. She can tell any parent at any time where their child stands in any subject, not just a generic “she is doing fine.” We can never thank Mrs. Tyrrell enough for teaching all four of our children. She expanded all of our horizons, not just the children’s. We are better parents because she had courage enough to teach us, too! She is the best and deserves so much more than we can ever say.
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