A decade and a half after my first grade teacher taught me school was nothing to be scared of, I decided to become a teacher myself. Dr. Emily Meixner is the director of the English/Secondary Education program at TCNJ, and has been a major influence in who I am as an educator.
I was blessed to take multiple classes taught by Dr. Meixner, as well as work with her on an independent study that was close to my heart. She also mentored me through what was a challenging student teaching experience, and I often credit her with being the first person who made me see my potential as an educator. My whole life I had heard that I would make a good teacher, but it wasn't until Dr. Meixner uttered those words that I took it to heart. When you're a teacher you meet so many people to admire in your profession, but there are few people whom I admire professionally as much as I admire her; when someone whom you respect to the degree I respect her extends their faith in you, you take it to heart.
Much of my pedagogy stems from the essential beliefs I formed in Dr. Meixner's classes. She is engaging and dynamic, progressive and wickedly smart. As a preservice teaching student I gained invaluable knowledge from her, and thousands of adolescents, the students of her students, mine included, benefit from her masterful teaching. I often miss my college classes, and if I could take courses again, many of the ones I would want to repeat are Dr. Meixner's.
Luckily in the age of Facebook and email, I am still in touch with Dr. Meixner. She continues to support me professionally, and I am so thankful for all she's ever done for me. Years into my teaching career I strive to make Meixner proud...even if she has no idea what I am doing. In my opinion, when a teacher has that kind of lasting impact on you, when she continues to sculpt you years after she taught you, that's the definition of teacher appreciation.