Teacher Thursday: Ms. Villanueva

In my quest to highlight a teacher, I wanted to share this one. Ms. Villanueva was my 2nd grade teacher in the NYC public school I attended. She was an artist. And, she loved me. How do I know? I'm sure she told me. I remember being giddy about going to class and I remember her hugs. Ms. Villanueva introduced me to storytelling. To books. To performing. She is the one that fought for me to get into the track of classes that led me to experience Harlem School of the Arts and that eventually won me a scholarship for dance there. I am not going to lie, I'm sure I was the teacher's pet. But I didn't care.

She opened up the world to me by casting me in roles that she'd take from books. I still remember that I was the keeper of the rainbow once. I don't recall the name of the book but, I've searched high and low for it to no avail. There was nothing I could not do as far as Ms. Villanueva was concerned. My confidence level was so high after crossing paths with her. I have nothing but good feelings from my year with her.

I don't remember anything curriculum related, though! But, she taught me to dream. She taught me the joy of dancing on stage. My most proud moment that year was when, during the performance where I was the keeper of the rainbow, she, dressed as mother nature danced on stage with me. I will never forget that. I believe I might have a picture somewhere and will update this post with it if I find it.

I don't know where she's at. I don't remember her first name. But if I were to run into her today I would hug her and say thank you! For teaching me about creativity. For letting my imagination run wild. For seeing something inside of me and fighting to make sure it was nurtured. For loving her job and her students. For teaching me so much that wasn't in the curriculum that year and introducing me to my first love: dance.

Do you remember your 2nd grade teacher?