My late grandmother was my role model and a large influence in my life.  My grandmother's life and lack of educational experiences inspired me to become a teacher at an early age.  She was born in the early 1900's and had to drop out of school to help her family work in the cotton fields during the fifth grade.  She was not given the educational opportunities that we have today.  However, that did not stop her from becoming one of  the smartest people I ever knew.  The  shelf in  her living room was filled with every kind of book imaginable.  She taught herself  new concepts by reading every book she could find and continued this throughout  her adult life.  My grandmother had a passion for learning, and she said that everyday of a person's life provided an opportunity to learn something new.  She instilled that value in me at an early age.

I always loved school, and I loved learning.  However, I can remember classmates who had a difficult time in school.   I always wanted to help them learn and make them feel successful.   Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to teach children and see the smile on their faces when they learn a new concept and accomplish something that they thought was too difficult or impossible.   Everyday my students walk through my classroom door with  different life experiences and different strengths and weaknesses. It is my responsibility as a their teacher to find a way to turn their weaknesses into strengths and to make their strengths even stronger.  It is my responsibility as their teacher to make them feel loved and to give them the confidence that they can accomplish anything they desire in their life.

Each year I am given 180 days to teach, guide and influence the students who walk through my classroom door.  It is my belief that when they walk out of my classroom for the last time  they will leave feeling smarter, more confident, and knowing that their 4th grade teacher loves them and believes that they will accomplish great things in their lifetime. -- Teresa Slaton