When I was in the first and second grade I had a teacher who set up in my mind what it meant to be in education. Her name was Mrs. Trundy, and to me she was the picture of perfection, intellect, and leadership.
Mrs. Trundy started each day the same, with perfect penmanship on the chalkboard. Writing her name between three gridlines so she would make no errors, writing the day of the week so that there would be no question as to our daily schedule, and making sure that the chalkboard itself was perfectly clean for the day ahead. Mrs. Trundy would stand at the front of the classroom, a picture of perfection in my 6-year-old frame of reference, garnering full command of the mixed 1st & 2nd grade classroom; her room was always in order, her students always had their eyes on her, and whether she was facing us or back to us, we quickly learned that she had her eyes on us. Mrs. Trundy had taught a long time by then, but she had mastered the art of making each and every one of her students feel important, accountable, trusted, and valued.
That was over 30 years ago, and I can so clearly remember Mrs. Trundy at the front of our small classroom, silently leading our class. I wanted to be exactly like her; she was smart, she was caring, she could be firm, and for a little girl growing up on an island in the 1980’s, she seemed to “have it all”. I watched her every move, and I swore I would be exactly like her when I grew up.
Although, I did not become the picture of pure “Mrs. Trundy” perfection my 6-year-old self had envisioned, she was able to instill in me a love of learning that no other teacher ever came close too. It was Mrs. Trundy who taught me that I could be a leader, it was Mrs. Trundy who taught me to be a learner, and it was Mrs. Trundy who showed me how to earn respect and trust from others, as she so eloquently took control of her classroom at the chalkboard each and every day.
So as you start this school year I ask you what kind of educator you want to be, and my hope is that your answer is that you plan to be your own version of another child’s “Mrs. Trundy”.
~Holly Eaton, Director of Communications, The New England Institute for Teacher Education