Thank You, Mrs. Kim


Ziming (Sarah) Wang, Staff Writer

Not many high school students still remember their teachers from a few years back, especially not when there’s a lot more things to deal with now, ridding us of the time to reminisce. I barely remembered my time spent in elementary and middle school; I even forgot about what classes I took, not to mention my teachers’ faces. However, my time with Mrs. Kim, my seventh grade math teacher, has had a great impact on me.

Everything in sixth grade for me was extremely chaotic. Somehow the gap between elementary and middle school was very hard for me to adjust to, and I ended up with an extremely bad performance throughout my first year at Foothills Middle School (FMS). In seventh grade, I was really determined to change for the better. I set up new goals for myself, starting from simple things such as improving my work habits and refraining from procrastination. But the biggest challenge I promised myself to achieve is to get into the advanced math class in eighth grade.

I initially believed this goal as impossible, as math is far from one of my strengths. However, considering that almost all of my friends did exceptionally well on the math placement test a few years back, I decided to take on the challenge to not get “left behind”. Also considering the level of competition in this school district, I decided to give it a shot because I realized that it’s better to fail trying than giving up. 

Mrs. Kim left the biggest impression on me on the first day of school. She initially struck me as extremely intimidating, one of those teachers who I tended to avoid eye contact with for an entire school year. In class, she gave an extremely strict aura, just from the way she talked and the glances she shot at us through the classroom. I couldn’t help but think to myself in despair that my goal is going to have to wait another year. 

However, I seriously could not stand the thought of missing this opportunity. Therefore, for the first day of class, I mustered up the courage and constantly raised my hand just to make a good impression on my teacher. Back then, raising my hand in class was pretty hard for me to do since I was an extreme introvert, so doing this was a huge accomplishment in my case.

I was questioning whether I did good or not when the class ended, and just when I was walking out the classroom, Mrs. Kim stopped me at the doorway and asked for my name. I remembered being really happy for the rest of the day, and was being so dramatic to the point where I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was an extremely big deal for me, as I was proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and making an impression on a teacher.

  Because Mrs. Kim asked for my name and the standards I set for myself on the first day, it gave me the motivation to work my hardest in math for the rest of the school year. My time in seventh grade went a lot smoother, and I was able to come a lot closer to Mrs. Kim through her classes and fell in love with her teaching style. It turned out that my initial impression of her was correct and that she was ultimately a little strict on her students, however, it helped us better grasp the concepts because of the expectations she put on us. Despite my deficiency in the basics of mathematics, I continuously participated in class, which actually improved my skills drastically. I clearly remembered a moment in class when I solved a problem that nobody else was able to solve and was so ecstatic when Mrs. Kim asked me to demonstrate it on the board.

Mrs. Kim really made me fall in love with math; through her class, I experienced the concept of “self-belief and hard work always earns you success.” With my constant involvement in her classroom, I could tell that she appreciated my hard work and maybe even favored me a little. She became my favorite teacher in middle school, and I cannot thank her enough for all that she did for me after.

During a parent-teacher conference sometime in the first semester, I urged my mom to meet Mrs. Kim and begged her to ask the latter if she thought I had the ability to place in Algebra 1 next year. I was too nervous to ask for myself since I thought it would be too direct. After hearing the question, Mrs. Kim smirked at me and said, “Maybe…” I remembered being really overwhelmed with emotions then, since what I thought was initially impossible might actually have a chance of coming true.

A few months later, I was exhausted after three hours of volleyball practice one night and was feeling extremely down. That year, I was placed onto an extremely skilled team because of my height; and I, who had only been playing for barely more than one year, was nowhere near the skill levels of my teammates. After another horrible practice of embarrassing myself on the court, I felt as bad as ever. I was trudging in the parking lot, waiting to be picked up, when my mom ran to me from her car and excitedly told me that I had been granted the opportunity to take a Math 8 test during the summer, which would determine if I had the ability to take advanced math next year. 

My mood brightened immediately after that; nothing could describe how happy I was as I stared at the letter all the way home. Needless to say, I worked my head off that summer and passed the exam with ease. It was the most accomplished I had felt in years, and it was Mrs. Kim who brought me that success and allowed me to break through my known capabilities. 

I didn’t get to see Mrs. Kim much after that year, and I never got the chance to thank her properly for how much she helped me and made me grow as a student. I really wish the best for her and I want to let her know that it was really a pleasure being her student. I can’t thank her enough for her support and for believing in my potential.