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Teacher received inspiration at young age from tutor

Mandy Pozen

After being told she was falling behind in her first-grade reading class, Mandy Pozen’s self-esteem took a dive.

“I felt dumb. I cried. It was one of the hardest and most confusing things to hear that I was a student that needed special attention,” Pozen, 26, said.

Her mother arranged for a tutor, and to Pozen’s delight, it was her former kindergarten teacher.

“My kindergarten teacher was the kindest woman with the invaluable ability to make any student feel good about him or herself. She made me believe I could do anything,” the Lansing resident said.

“She brought a stack of children’s literature, sat down with me, and told me to read her a book. I read it perfectly with no stutters, and she was taken aback.”

“She ensured me I was reading at the appropriate grade level, and it was actually the confidence I lacked – not the literacy.”

After that interaction, Pozen was determined to become a teacher herself.

She studied education at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., and is now a Computer Technology teacher for more than 100 students in kindergarten through grade 5 at St. Paul Lutheran School in Munster.

“St. Paul is a wonderful school. The school’s motto is ‘Living Loved!’”

“As a teacher, I have the opportunity to teach students how to be happy with themselves and others and to help them develop an empathetic attitude toward others,” Pozen said.

“We teach students how to take responsibility for their own actions and accept the consequences that come with these actions. This is exactly the type of school I want to teach in. Love and compassion mean everything in teaching,” she said.

Pozen said even the smallest of changes gives her satisfaction.

“It makes the job worth it knowing that I impact a student’s life in a positive way, even if it’s only one student,” she said.

To nominate someone for this feature, contact kimberly.a.cheek@gmail.com.

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Senior Copy Editor

Jeanette is a journalist with The Times Media Co. who has worked as both a reporter and editor. She has a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

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Annette is Community Coordinator for The Times. She has been with the paper for two decades. A resident of Hobart, she graduated from Purdue University with degrees in English and German.