Thank You, Mrs. Texley!

May 04, 2018 | Posted by Jennifer


When I was a junior in high school, I enrolled in my first English class with Mrs. Texley. She taught honors English to eleventh and twelfth graders in my small-town Kansas high school. Until that point in time, I had not found English to be a particularly exciting subject. It felt dry, boring, and lifeless. That all changed with Mrs. Texley. Her enthusiasm and encouragement opened my eyes to new authors, new ways of writing, and new approaches to studying. Through her encouragement I read novels I previously would have never known about or considered. It was through Mrs. Texley’s suggestions that I entered the mysterious world of the unnamed protagonist in Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel, Rebecca. I studied the broad collection of Greek and Roman mythology with Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, and I encountered a great white whale named Moby Dick. These novels and many, many others opened up my mind, and I grew to love literature and writing so much so that I eventually graduated with a degree in English.

That is the power of an excellent teacher. A competent and engaging teacher opens up doors for her students that they previously thought were shut or didn’t even know existed. A teacher empowers her students and shows them that they can achieve more than they ever imagined. She provides the map. She charts the course. She leads her students to discover more about who they are. She is a vision-caster.

Most of us can recall at least one teacher who was especially encouraging. I am fortunate in that I can recall several throughout my years as a student. As I reflect back on what made them shine above their peers, I have come up with a few common themes.

  • An excellent teacher is an excellent communicator. She can speak to her students in a way that they understand. But not only that, she can listen, too. And when she teaches, her body language reflects that she is happy to be with her students.

  • An excellent teacher shows enthusiasm for her subject. A teacher who shows that she is still excited and interested in her subject, whether it be English, math, science, or something else, shows her students that the subject is worth learning.

  • An excellent teacher is funny. A teacher who is funny keeps her students’ attention and injects interest and fun into her subject. She also establishes rapport between herself and her class. (For more on the benefits of humor in teaching, check out Podcasts 137 and 138.)

  • An excellent teacher knows her subject well. By knowing her subject well, she is freed from trying to master it. Instead she enthusiastically and naturally shares it with her students. She is able to take her time and focus her energies on her students so that she is able to adjust her teaching methods to her class’ unique needs.

  • An excellent teacher genuinely enjoys her students and isn’t afraid to smile. By smiling and speaking with her students individually, she shows that she is happy to have them in her class. Her welcoming presence puts students at ease so that they can focus on learning.

May 6, 2018 begins National Teacher Appreciation Week in the United States. It’s a time for us to share our appreciation for the teachers in our lives. Whether in homeschools, private schools, or public schools, there is a teacher who has gone above and beyond to instill a love of learning in her students. For me, Mrs.Texley made all the difference. She was the one who taught me to love English and who put me on a path to getting my degree in English. She is a big part of the reason I am the person I am today. It is now my privilege and pleasure to pay it forward with my own students. And as I do, I remember her and try to honor her by teaching my class with her same enthusiasm and joy. Thank you, Mrs. Texley!


Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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