Thank You, Ms. Tedford

Becky Chen, Staff Writer

Ever since I was a child, I was always scared to try new things in fear of embarrassing myself or being the worst. As a result, I avoided stepping out of my comfort zone and steered cleared of any situations that forced me to try new things. But when high school came around, I was extremely nervous about the dramatic transition. Predominantly, I was nervous about taking Beginning Dance for the first time. The last time I took dance class was when my mom encouraged me to try ballet at the age of six. Long story short, I got a bloody nose and cried in front of my class. Clearly, I was extremely awful at dancing. But something in my uncoordinated and inflexible self wanted to try again in high school. So I signed up for Beginning Dance, determined to make this a learning experience. Instantly after signing up, I started to doubt myself. I started picturing scenarios of falling in front of my classmates, getting made fun of for being bad, and receiving a bad grade. I even considered asking the counselor to cancel this decision, and to just put me in a normal PE class.

I vividly remember how I stepped into the dance room on the first day of high school. I didn’t know what to expect at all. Haunting questions swarmed my mind: Who is Ms. Tedford? Will she yell at me if I’m bad? Who are the other people in this class? Will they be better than me? But to my shock, nothing was even close to what I dreaded. Beginning Dance, a class that I feared taking all summer, suddenly became enjoyable and something I look forward to everyday. I made numerous friends, learned different techniques, and found myself loving dance. And this was, of course, mostly because of the teacher: Ms. Tedford.

Right on the first day of class, Ms. Tedford told us that she didn’t care if we were bad at dancing. She only cared about the amount of effort we put. This immediately comforted me, because I always thought that I would get an F in the class for being inflexible. My twisted idea of what dance class was had transformed, and it felt like a weight was being taken off my shoulders. Ms. Tedford always gave me critiques on how I could improve myself, and took the time to teach me even when I kept failing. “When you fall, get right back up,” she would always say whenever the class was struggling. “How do you think babies learn to walk? They keep on falling until they get it.”

Because of her, I was always motivated to just try my best, no matter how inflexible or uncoordinated I am. “It’s okay to struggle, but it’s never okay to stop trying,” Ms. Tedford would encourage when a student would attempt a certain dance move but give up toward the end. Even now, I’m still naturally bad at dancing, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Ms. Tedford taught me these important lessons in dance class, which can also be applied to real life. She makes class so much fun with her humorous anecdotes from her college life or her ability to joke around with the students. Her rants about annoying customers still make me laugh to this day. This is why I wholeheartedly appreciate Ms. Tedford, for she made Beginning Dance one of the best experiences in high school.

-Becky Chen, 9, Pow Wow, Staff Writer