Biographical Non-Fiction posted July 12, 2022

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An outstanding teacher

All for Just One Child

by Donna G. (aka Sam Duck)

My grade one and grade two teacher was Mrs. Ena Stiles.  She was strict and firm and we all knew there was no getting away with nonsense in her class. She was also kind and fair.

School was a bit boring for me at first.  I already knew how to read.  While others were reading about Nan and Bill and Lad, I was reading entire story books on my own. 

Mrs. Stiles noticed that I was eager to learn, but not being challenged in her class.  She set up a new school schedule for me.  Everyone else in class got an hour for lunch; Mrs. Stiles and I had a half-hour. She taught me one-on-one for the other half-hour.  She and I also started school 15 minutes earlier than others and used that time to complete workbooks and do practice equations. 

By Christmastime, I had finished the grade one curriculum, and by spring break, I was caught up to the grade two class.  My desk was moved over to the grade two side of the classroom.  How exciting!

After a few weeks, Mrs. Stiles asked me if I was happy in grade two; if I was fitting in and understanding all the schoolwork.  I was so worried that I would be sent back to grade one that I assured her I loved it and things were perfect in grade two.  She smiled and said, “If you are happy where you are now, you may stay in grade two.”  Later I found out they were considering moving me on to grade three!   I think the right decision was made, as I wasn’t emotionally mature enough; but I often wonder how far I could have gone if I had continued progressing while I still had that burning desire to learn.

Many years later, I heard that Mrs. Stiles had passed away at age 96.  I spent some time considering what she had done for me.  For one child, she gave up hours of her personal time to teach one-on-one for most of a whole year.  For one child, she created a whole new curriculum, and set lessons and classwork depending on how quickly I understood each concept.

She was so dedicated to teaching that she did it all without extra pay, benefits, or even much gratitude from me.  I think I was a polite child, but I was being asked to give up my play time and do work that the other children didn’t have to do.  I’m sure I didn’t appreciate that very much.

Mrs. Stiles gave me confidence to do whatever I set my mind to. She encouraged me to ask questions and think for myself.  She showed me that no one should accept boredom when there is more learning out there to do! And she made it clear that the education of one child was worth working hard for.

I will be forever grateful that I was “one child” who benefitted from Mrs. Stiles’ care and concern.

Teaching Affected Me contest entry
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Artwork by cleo85 at

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