In my quest to highlight a teacher, I wanted to share this one. Â Ms. Villanueva was my 2nd grade teacher in the NYC public school I attended. Â She was an artist. Â And, she loved me. Â How do I know? I’m sure she told me. Â I remember being giddy about going to class and I remember her hugs.
Ms. Villanueva introduced me to storytelling. Â To books. Â To performing. Â She is the one that fought for me to get into the Â track of classes that led me to experience Harlem School of the Arts and that eventually won me a scholarship for dance there. Â 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. Â 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. Â There was nothing I could not do as far as Ms. Villanueva was concerned. Â My confidence level was so high after crossing paths with her. Â I have nothing but good feelings from my year with her.
I don’t remember anything curriculum related, though! Â But, she taught me to dream. She taught me the joy of dancing on stage. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â For seeing something inside of me and fighting to make sure it was nurtured. For loving her job and her students. Â 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?