My mom believes in that extra “push”

Apparently, I never liked school

My mom said something funny to me recently, “you know Emily, you never really liked school.” … um, what? I responded, “but mom, I am so good at school.”

I am good at school. I am twenty-one years old and about to graduate with my Master’s in June. But my mom is right, I never really liked school. When I was younger, I literally hid from any school related activity. During homework time, I dropped my pencil under the kitchen table and would spend about ten minutes trying to find it. If my pencil wasn’t lost, it was typically “too sharp” or “too dull.” Homework time in the Muller house was never fun, and sometimes, it ended in tears (whether they were mine or my mom’s – you’ll never know) (they were mine).

I was behind

In first grade, my teacher told my mother that I was behind in both reading and math. “But don’t worry,” she said, “Emily will catch up”

Oh yes, I certainly would catch up. Within weeks after my teacher’s report, my mom had me enrolled in tutoring.

There were many tutors. I believe the first experience was at the Sylvan Learning center, but I also distinctly remember an older lady’s house on a farm. My mom was relentless.

My mom always knew I could do it

I have vivid memories of my mom setting the timer, “thirty minutes Emily, you can do it. Just study for thirty minutes.” I also remember curling up next to my mom in bed, “Just read one chapter Emily, you can do it.”

By the time third grade rolled around, I was passing advanced proficient on Virginia’s state testing. My grades were high and my performance was on track. I remember my first near- perfect report card, my mom’s face lit up. She knew I could do it.

The Lesson

I may not have liked school, but my mother never stopped pushing me to be better. Instead of teaching me how to love school, she taught me how to work hard. “You can do anything for x- amount of time Emily, just push through.” – this was the mantra we continuously chanted, and we still chant today.

The Connection

I may not like school, but I recognize that it is important, and that’s why I advocate for education.

My mom is my number one person, my number one mentor, my inspiration, and my extra push. I would not be where I am today without her tough love and classic wisdom:

Finish strong, she says

Pace yourself, she says

If it were easy, every one would do it, she says

Push. Strive. Achieve. Quitting was never an option.

This is where I stand as a teacher. If we show students their importance, and highlight the importance of education, they will strive to achieve more. They may not always like school, but they will value the motivation to be better. I believe this, because that is exactly what happened to me.

(Thanks mom.)

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