Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Who Are Your Mentors?

Tuesday’s Slice
Who are your mentors?
Stacey’s post WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS inspired this Tuesday's slice...

I hit my life’s rewind button and reviewed the tapes all the way back to my earliest memories of school and that is where I found one of the first people I could truly call a mentor. So here’s a story about her, me and a scene from the beginning of her influence as a mentor...

BY Amy Rudd



Children (mixture of boys and girls) entering the classroom. Teacher (Ellen Hunter) drinking hot tea with lemon and honey, watching closely, pacing the floor and glancing out the window at the buses and waiting impatiently to grab Amy Jo as she bounds in from the bus drop-off.
Amy Jo finally walks into the room happily with her friend MaryAlice (the two girls with two names). Ellen quickly approaches Amy Jo with tea cup in hand.

She whispers (barely audible) to Amy Jo. Would you like to teach the class today?

Amy Jo, wondering why in the world her teacher is talking like this and asking such an odd question scrunches up her face and backs up.

Mrs. Hunter, why are you talking like that?

(whispering to Amy Jo) I have laryngitis and can’t talk very well. I need someone to teach the class today. Would you like to do this?

Amy Jo jumping up and down excitedly…Yes, I would!

Ok. Then you need to tell them that I can't talk today so you will be doing it for me!

Ringing the classroom bell, the children begin to take their seats and settle down. Amy Jo starts speaking to them…

(Excitedly, from the front of the room) Class, Mrs. Hunter can’t talk to you today so I am going to do it for her!

Fast forward to present day.  This is part of what inspired me to become a teacher. I knew in 4th grade that I loved teaching children. I knew I wanted to go into the field of teaching from that day on…Ellen was really my first mentor. Not only because she wanted me to teach that day, but because I can still remember how she taught. We learned how to use study guides to learn our curriculum content. We also learned how to journal, spell and read chapter books and novels. I can still hear her voice reading books like Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Otherwise Known as Sheilah the Great by Judy Bloom…just how she used to say “Pee-tah” and all…it was cute!

I ended up keeping in touch with her as I went through school and babysat her kids (Ryan and Tracy) and I just basically adored her every move. When I was a senior in high school, I invited her to my National Honor Society Induction Banquet and she actually came! I still have the beautiful engraved necklace she bought me as a gift that night. I will never forget her…we have even exchanged Christmas cards as adults, although it’s been quite a few years since we last exchanged.
This post has inspired me to look up her address again and send her a thank you card as we near Teacher Appreciation Week in May!

Thanks for your inspiration Stacey! This was a fun review of my walk down Memory Lane…


  1. I know that note will mean the world to Ellen. What a great inspiration for you as a young girl.

  2. What a great way to tell your story! A teacher without a voice helped you find yours!

  3. So touching! Loved the image this created for me, "I hit my life’s rewind button and reviewed the tapes" and the format of your slice. I've been reading Debbie Miller's "Reading with Meaning" and it seems like her students often act as teachers. I need to try that more next year. It sounds so powerful.

  4. Your remembrance is special and even more so as you shared it with us. I believe if all are like me that you inspired us to have our own visual moment to thank those who have seen the gifts in us and helped us to develop them I am truly fortunate to get to see the new visuals I of Amy Jo as she bounds into the workplace everyday with limitless enthusiasm ready to seize the opportunity to mentor many adults and to help children find their voices. We are thankful for you Amy.

    1. Thank you so much Christy! Your thoughts keep inspiring me! Grateful for you as well!


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