The Teacher That Changed My Life

With our "T-Mobile Top Teacher Throw Down for $500 Gift Card" just starting, it made me think about the teacher that inspired me and changed my life!

If you get a chance, you can read how my 10th grade choir teacher gave me the confidence to change my life below. AND the link to the T-Mobile Top Teacher Throw Down to enter is RIGHT HERE!

High school, 10th grade my first day in Mixed Choir and I was a nervous wreck. I had heard horror stories about the Choir Director, Ms. (don't call her Mrs.!) Chamberlain. I was told she was mean. I was told that she could slap you down with her evil stare if you were so much as a tiny bit off of a note.

Those stories and more I'd heard about Ms. Chamberlain? They were pretty much true. She was in one word: Fierce! She also was the teacher that changed my life.

I was a shy, petite out-of-place nerdy redhead who just wanted to get on stage and perform! I wanted to BE someone else. Be something other than "Judi The Ugly Redhead" as I was teased so many times.

I think Ms. Chamberlain took one look at me when I nervously auditioned for the choir class in order to be placed, and immediately either took pity on me, understood me because she was an awkward teen once too, or genuinely liked me. All I know is that she cared and showed me value. She said I had a strong voice and that I just needed to not be shy with it. When I auditioned, she was the only one in the room. But she'd also seen me around the other kids and I was very quiet. (Go Figure! ME, QUIET!).

I also learned so much about music and theory from her and yes. She would yell at times. She had too! She had to deal with 70 loud obnoxious teenagers and try to get us to perform in a matter of weeks. She did, though. She got the best out of all of us. We wanted to make her proud. At least, I did. By my senior year I had developed my singing voice well enough to score one of the leads in the last musical of my public school years.

I'll never forget the last thing I remember her saying to me when I said my goodbye after graduation. In her gravely low voice she took my hands and looked me in the eyes and said "Judi. Remember that you are the only one that can choose to make yourself feel less than who you are. See the beauty of your soul and don't let anyone take that from you. You've got a lot to give, so go out and give the world all ya got". And that was that. At the time, I didn't think much of it. It would take years until I truly understand her message. I never got to go back and see her, life took over and took the time right out from under me. She is long passed and I wish I could've told her how much she changed my life!

So to every teacher like Ms. Chamberlain, a BIG THANK YOU! You may not get the thank yous you deserve immediately, but you are appreciated.

I hope this inspires you to tell a deserving teacher to enter our T-Mobile Top Teacher Throw Down and they could win a $500 School Supplies Gift Card!

The link for that contest is RIGHT HERE

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