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Building Confidence - A Teacher Changed My Life

Updated on August 19, 2015
brakel2 profile image

Helping others through her research and writing meets an important goal for Audrey. She has spent many hours on this goal in her career.

My Life Changed

Miss Siegesmund was the most striking lady I had ever seen. When I walked into first year high school Latin class, I saw a smartly dressed lady in a colorful suit, about 5 feet five inches tall, very thin and chic. Her hair looked almost golden, and she was refined and articulate. “Teachers are not supposed to be beautiful,” I thought, with naiveté. She proved to have a winning personality to match her looks. I was in her class for four years, and she instilled confidence in me.

Excited Young Lady
Excited Young Lady | Source

Parent Fails to Build Confidence

When I was a freshman, I was skinny with braces, and my confidence needed improvement. I was so shy I sometimes would cross the street to avoid talking to classmates. I had many friends but was still shy around others. My mother did not believe in praising me as she believed that I would get a “swelled head.” Her belief had a great impact on my childhood. My Latin teacher believed in me. She was full of praise and knew what each student especially needed. I gradually found my niche in high school with confidence in my abilities.

Photo of My Mother.
Photo of My Mother.

Speech Contest Success

When I was a senior, I had developed enough confidence to participate in a declamation contest. I had to give a speech in front of the entire high school. Can you imagine the progress that I had made to get to that point? I came in third. When I arrived at Latin class, Miss Siegesmund said, “You should have won. You were the best” I thought to myself,” She has so much faith in me” Better things were yet to come.

Spotlighting Performance
Spotlighting Performance | Source

Latin Romance

There were eight students in fourth year Latin, four boys and four girls. We started to have some social events. We were invited to her house, and we went to movies, the nine of us. The friendship among us was a relationship I will always remember. Then along came some Latin romance. Each boy in class asked another girl in class, “Will you go to the prom with me?” Was she also a matchmaker?

My brother and me at a younger age.
My brother and me at a younger age.
My Teacher
My Teacher

A Teacher Changed My Life by Building Confidence

We learned later she never married due to an unforgettable broken romance. She was very private about her life. What I remember about her is that she took me into her life, me, the skinny girl with the braces and gave me confidence. I was like a bird with a broken wing due to my mother’s inability to cast aside misconceptions from her own past. The teacher mended my broken wing and allowed me to soar to greater heights. I shall never forget her. She won praise from many students for building confidence, and she changed my life..

Tree Represents a Lady
Tree Represents a Lady

How Teacher Builds Confidence

Praise complete correct assignments.

Praise for class participation.

Give extra credit for taking on difficult assignments

Take interest in each student and special needs.

Learn student interests.

Allow student to direct project

Compliments but only sincere ones that are meaningful.

A Tree in her Memory

At this time the class is preparing to purchase and dedicate a tree for her on the grounds posthumously. May she look down upon the strong branches in memory of her impact on students in a high school in Buffalo, New York. She is one of a rare breed, dedicated to student confidence and integrity in the classroom. Society needs a multitude of such teachers who can change the lives of their students forever through building their self confidence.

Building Confidence


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    • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

      Bill Tollefson 2 years ago from Southwest Florida

      I think that the issue of confidence is a very important for children. You covered very well in this HUB and video.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Thank you Dr. Bill, I appreciate your reading my hub and for your kind comments. Teachers and others are so important in our children's lives when they help with confidence, as you mention. Hope your writing is going well. Blessings, Audrey

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk


      Teachers can either make or break a child. I was like you, fortunate enough to have a couple of teachers who helped to build some self esteem where there was nothing. I am grateful to them to this day. Thanks for sharing.


    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Oh, I so know this to be true. I had the exact opposite experience with a teacher in the fourth grade. It is he whom I blame for my math deficiency. He was intolerant to the "nth" degree! I was terrified of that teacher.

      In high school, there were teachers I loved and teachers I disliked intensely. But none in my entire school career were as horrid at that 4th grade bully of a poor excuse for a teacher. He was in the wrong profession!

      I'm glad you had such a great teacher who helped you so much.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Thank you, Sallybea. for the read and nice comments. I guess we all had self esteem problems when we were younger. Some teachers really helped, while others did not. One teacher told my parents I was her daydreamer, and she told me I always looked out the window. I wished she had told about my grades. The good teachers were super. I would like to hear other stories about school. Blessings, Audrey

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Dizzy- You have such a good sense of humor. Thanks for coming by to comment and tell your story about the teachers. I love to hear about it. Some people think they know what to say. As you see, I had one who forgot what Parents' Day was all about. I love to read your comments. Blessings, Audrey

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      You were blessed to have such a teacher. I have had several teachers that impacted my life but not for the same reason as you. My Momma and Daddy encouraged and praised me in all of efforts so I feel very blessed.

      The teachers that inspired me and made long lasting impacts on me were ones who taught me to understand and excel in a subject that perhaps I had not before.

      About ten years ago I had the opportunity to thank my Advanced Journalism teacher who found the writer in me that I HOPED was there.

      He was deeply touched.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with such a special teacher.

      Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Thanks. Patricia. for stopping by to read my hub. I am glad your parents praised you, as mine were kind but in a different generation. I remember others who said praise gives you a swelled head. I am glad you had a teacher who found the writer in you, as you sure are a jewel with genuine talent. I enjoy reading your hubs so much and your kind blessings on mine and others' hubs. Thanks for sharing your own experiences. Blessings, Audrey

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      What a lovely tribute, Patricia, to that lovely-looking, super-wise Latin teacher you were fortunate to have. She knew the power of praise and did not hesitate to use it. Wouldn't it be great if we were all that perceptive?

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi drbj - Thanks so much for your nice compliments about my hub and teacher. She was the best and only teacher who had such perception and understanding of student needs. I wish she was still alive as we dedicate a tree on the school grounds in her memory. It would be nice if all teachers had her skills. I just love your writing, and it is a compliment that you stopped by my hubs. Blessings. Audrey

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 23 months ago from New Delhi, India

      What a fine example of how teachers can shape a child's personality for the better!

      This subject is very close to my heart and I completely agree with the theme of your hub. You have written about an important concern that needs attention both by parents and teachers.

      Excellent hub with lovely classic pictures. Your mother looks so beautiful!

      Thanks for sharing and voted up!

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 23 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Sharon - Teachers sure can change your life. How sweet of you to notice my mother's picture and comment on her beauty. I loved writing this hub, especially finding the photos that added some value to the hub. Thank you for reading this story, and having this subject close to your heart. Keep up your great writing. Blessings, Audrey

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 22 months ago from Shimla, India

      What a lovely, inspiring and honestly written post. :)

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 22 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Akriti - I guess you can tell how important the teacher was in my life. Sure do appreciate your stopping by and reading another hub and for your kind words. Everyone probably has someone who influenced life, but I chose to write my little story. I loved school, especially my friends. Have a great day, and hope you had some great teachers. Blessings, Audrey

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 22 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      You are lucky to have a teacher that supported you all the way, i don't

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 22 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Peachy - I realize how lucky I am to have a teacher who helped build my confidence. It would be nice if all students could get that much help from teachers. Nowadays, teachers spend so much time on discipline. I wish you had a teacher who helped you. I guess we all need to love ourselves and instill our own confidence. Many folks work on this all their lives.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      You are lucky tohave such agood teacher. I wished mine would have been that way but my teachers were a bunch of let downs

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 20 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Thanks peachy for the kind comments about my teacher. Teachers can make your schooldays better, if you get the right ones. My teacher was one in a million. I am sorry your teachers were "let downs," and, hopefully your kids will do better and land teachers that help them. Have a great day, my friend. Blessings,, Audrey

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 18 months ago from sunny Florida

      O Audrey

      I can so identify with this in many respects. I was fortunate enough to have a college professor help me to believe that I could finally at long last 'get' math. And it changed how I have used numbers and math since that time.

      How blessed you are to have had such a lovely, caring person come into your life just when you seemed to need it most.

      I enjoyed reading this from beginning to end. Teachers really can impact lives and it can be a long-lasting impact for sure.

      Shared g+ tweeted pinned

      Angels are on the way to you today ps

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 18 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Pat - How sweet of you to read and say such kind things about my hub. I loved that teacher and will never forget her. You were lucky to have a professor to help you. I remember how important math teachers were in my education, also. I wish life was better in schools today. In my city, the schools have problems that impact everyone and have police in many schools. Oh for the good old days. Thanks for sharing and sending angels. Peace and light to you. Blessings, Audrey

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

      You know, I taught for about a decade and I was good at it, but my writings can be quite cynical. What I want others to understand, though, is how many good teachers are out there and what a bad wrap they get.

      What a beautiful read.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 17 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Larry - So you were a teacher. I have great respect for education and anyone who made a difference in the life of students. I loved school, because of rich experiences, and any teacher who enhanced my life. You were a good one, I am sure. Thanks for stopping by to read and make such kind remarks. Have a great weekend, Blessings, Audrey

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