Love Letters to Maine | Cindy Soule

Dear Maine,

Your teachers have flexed with creativity, perseverance, and compassion to deliver instruction in ways that are assuredly different from the past. In moments of vulnerability, we have leaned on one another and found solutions to barriers. Together, we have demonstrated a deep commitment to our students’ growth and learning while bringing into sharper focus the importance of relationships.

Our relationships have sustained us through the emotional fallout of changes in daily life and the isolation. Finding strength in one another is what Mainers do. I am thankful for my colleagues, family, and friends who brought me joy. I am also incredibly grateful for the teachers who powerfully impacted my life. Reflecting on my educational experiences reminded me that learning that extends far beyond academic content and inspires the future.

I can still vividly remember my sixth-grade science teacher Mr. Gordon Corbett’s many lessons and projects, his legendary yo-yo tricks, and his true passion for science; the most important things I learned in his classroom, I use every day. Mr. Corbett taught me to think deeply, ask thought-provoking questions, take risks, and confidently share my ideas. Each science lesson was posed as a mystery, and while designed to teach science content, it was also a lesson in how to discover knowledge by asking questions, participating in active discussion, and collaborating. It was in Mr. Corbett’s classroom I learned to boldly take on challenges, and that lesson has served me well over the past year.

We are all experiencing loss. For me, I found strength and inspiration from Mr. Corbett to be the kind of teacher my students need and deserve. By teaching skills embedded in student-lead inquiry, I will prepare a generation of students to be informed, respectful, open-minded, and responsible citizens who care for their environment and possess compassion for humanity. As your residents navigate the uncertainties of this pandemic, I hope they, like me, find strength in the educators that made a difference in their lives and consider why those teachers left an impact.

Soule, who was named the 2021 Maine Teacher of the Year, is a fourth-grade teacher at Gerald E. Talbot Community School in Portland.

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