I first met Ms. Murayama in my 11th grade English class. She pushed me to challenge myself and take an advanced English course my senior year even though it was out of my comfort zone because English is my second language.
After two years as her student, I got to know her more and more as a teacher and sometimes, I would even ask her for advice on personal issues. Like a great educator, she would take the time to work with me personally and discuss how I felt even if it wasn’t about school work or the latest literature we were reading in class.
My most vivid memory of Ms. Murayama as a great educator was during my senior year, when I realized I couldn’t qualify to be an honor graduate because of a test score. I even cried to her (though thinking about it now is silly). I told her I did not want to attend my own graduation ceremony because I felt ashamed I couldn’t make the cut for the honorable mention. Her response wasn’t a cliche one where she might just simply say, of course I have to attend and be part of the big day. Instead, she sat and listened to my disappointment, comforted me and helped me analyze the potential effects of not attending the ceremony. It was nice to have an adult mentor who listened and advised me instead of giving me superficial answers.
I ended up going thanks to her words of encouragement. As you can tell from my story, Ms. Murayama truly cares a lot about her students. Even years later, I’ve seen how she continues to spread her positive attitude and inspiration to others. The best part is, I can tell she doesn’t look at teaching as a job, but rather a passion to help her students excel. We still keep in touch, and since graduating nearly six years ago, I still can’t call her Shareen. She will forever be my teacher, Ms. Murayama to me.