Crystal Tyler isn’t a typical School of Education undergraduate student.
For starters, she’s a mother to Annalee, 11, and Miriam, almost 4. At 19, Tyler was widowed, and now at age 33, she will finally graduate with her teaching degree this month.
One thing she does have in common with so many School of Education students is the impact teachers had on her during her time in school.
“School was my safe haven,” Tyler said. “My third grade teacher Mrs. Stroud made a profound impact on my life. She always knew when I needed an extra hug or small gesture to show she cared. She never said anything but her actions told me she knew what was happening and that she was there for me. One memory in particular has always stayed with me: my parents had a really bad fight one morning before I caught the bus to school. My mom stopped by the school to apologize for that morning and made me upset again. When I went back to class I was crying. Mrs. Stroud was reading a boxcar children book to the class. She never stopped reading, she simply motioned for me and when I walked to her, she pulled me up in her lap and rocked me while she continued to read to the class.”
Tyler also mentioned Mr. Sumner, her high school theater teacher, as having a huge influence on her life – so much so that he showed up at the funeral for her late husband even after she’d been out of high school for a year.
“After the funeral he sent me a letter telling me he had lost his first love early in life and how I would love again and that he was there for me,” she said. “Mr. Sumner was the teacher that believed in me when no one else did.”
Tyler credits teachers for becoming the person she is today – and for making her want to teach.