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Teachers have the ability to inspire our children sometimes even more than we as parents do. For the simple reason that they are teaching and motivating children daily, teachers hold the key to our children's success. By creating the foundation on which children will build their academic careers and life's work, teachers become the single most important factor in our children's education. Many different statistics and studies support this fact.

In a popular study that is cited in nearly every college psychology text, teachers were told of different children's abilities to succeed in their classroom. Teachers were told that one child would struggle and have problems learning. That child did fail. Then teachers were told that another student was very bright and that he or she had what it took to be a good student. This child succeeded. Both of the aforementioned children were of equal intelligence with an average I.Q. This tells us that if a teacher expects a child to succeed, then that child will.

She unveiled literary treasures, inspiring me to take pleasure in reading beautiful works of art. By exposing me to the works of Shakespeare, Dickens, and Homer, she introduced me to vibrant characters that resided in whimsical, far-off places. She brought the works to life in her classroom. No, they didn't sit in those old dusty books. They flew from the pages, urging us to join in their flight.

Despite the difficult language for high school students, she brought Shakespeare's soothing sonnets and magical stories into our lives, changing us forever. By exposing us to some of the classic literature from yesterday, she inspired our own creativity.

Her love of Charles Dickens helped us to identify with his many characters. Pip tugged at our hearts. The artful dodger was compared to that idiot of a friend that was always taking the easy way out of every situation. Mrs. Haversham would get our blood boiling. We devoured the pages of A Tale of Two Cities, wiping away the tears that ran down our cheeks.

She made Odysseus' trek seem so real and yet so magical, instilling a deep love for mythology and history within many of us. She brought the Cyclops, Medusa, Hades, and other creatures to us, unleashing them into our imaginations.

Through her obvious enthusiasm for prose and poetry, our teacher opened our minds and souls to the classics. In doing so, she also nurtured our creativity. She taught us to appreciate art. This woman brought the world to us on a platter, and asked us to taste it. We sank our teeth into the fare, savoring every juicy morsel.

My love for literature is what motivated me to become a writer; therefore, Brenda Neal's love for literature is what moved me to become a writer. I want to touch people with my writing. I want someone to be reading one of my poems, and have my poem remind them of an experience that they had. My greatest joy is to find out that one of my informative articles taught a new skill to a reader. This is all because of one incredible teacher!

Since this English teacher instilled a deep love of life, my goal has always been to learn as much as I could about everything. My thirst for knowledge is unending! I want to write about everything under the sun. I want to experience life and then pour myself onto a page. I want to write about everything and anything and all the while hone my writing skills. This too is because I was fortunate enough to have a great teacher of not just English, but of life as well. She taught her class that they would never stop learning.

We never stop learning as long as we can breath. We never stop living unless we stop learning. Keeping our minds open is what keeps us young. Keeping our hearts open is what makes us great writers. I urge you to learn, live, breath, open your heart, and fill your soul with everything that the world has to offer.

What a wonderful gift she has bestowed upon us- the gift of knowledge!