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Thank you Isabel Russell

Lisa Sygutek

Jan 17, 2024

I have to tell you that the death of Ms. Isabel Russell rocked me to my core.

Rarely do I write about the death of people who have had profound impact on my life. To be honest, there are so many people I respect and if I started I would most likely write every editorial about someone who passed away that affected me. 

To date I have written three in my almost 25 years here at the Pass Herald.

I have to tell you that the death of Ms. Isabel Russell rocked me to my core.

I had the privilege of having Isabel as my English teacher throughout high school.

It’s funny when you look back at ages. When I was 17 she was only 41, but to me she was this mature, elegant, brilliant lady who presented far beyond her age.

Her passion for literature and dedication to her students made her stand out among the rest.

Every class with her was an opportunity for me to delve into the world of words and explore the power of language. She had a unique way of bringing literature to life, making it relatable, and engaging for me. Whether it was analysing Shakespearean plays or discussing modern poetry, she always found a way to make the material relevant and interesting.

What I appreciated the most about my Isabel was her ability to create a safe and inclusive learning environment. She encouraged open discussions and respected diverse opinions. She believed that every student had a voice worth hearing, and she made sure that everyone had the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas.

Her teaching methods were not limited to traditional lectures and assignments. She frequently incorporated creative projects and group activities into our lessons, which made learning English even more enjoyable. We were often tasked with writing short stories, performing dramatic interpretations, or even creating our own poetry. These activities not only enhanced our understanding of the subject but also nurtured our creativity and self-expression.

Beyond the classroom, Isabel encouraged me to explore literature outside of the prescribed curriculum. She recommended books and discussed them with me. Her enthusiasm for reading was contagious, and I developed a lifelong love for literature thanks to her influence.

Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was to have had such an inspiring and dedicated English teacher. She not only taught me the technical aspects of the English language but also instilled in me a passion for storytelling and a deep appreciation for the written word. Her impact went beyond the classroom, shaping my personal and academic growth.

To this day, I continue to draw upon the lessons and values she imparted to me. She taught me the importance of empathy, critical thinking, and effective communication. Her unwavering support and belief in her students instilled a sense of self-confidence that has stayed with me throughout my life.

I am grateful for the time I spent in her class and the lasting impact she had on my education and personal development. My favourite teacher will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will forever be grateful for the knowledge and inspiration she shared with me.

It’s because of Isabel that I decided to pursue a degree in education as an English teacher. I was only one semester away from my degree when I realized that being a teacher was not my calling. I did however, finish my degree with a Bachelor of Arts in English. 

I often look back at the critical essays I wrote in the four years of my degree and marvel at my ability to critically think and analyze. People often say an arts degree is a waste, but I think the opposite. I can read, I can write, and I can apply both to a level of analysis that far surpasses most.

So thank you Isabel Russell, you have had more impact on who I am than pretty much any person in my life. I am sure that resonates with many in this community who have had the same experience with this remarkable lady.

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