“Math is the spotlight of my day now”: Greensboro fourth grader writes heartwarming letter to trainer who helped her overcome math issues

GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP) – Zoey Crisp struggled in math class for years.

“Of all the subjects, it was the most time consuming and you did the most homework in it and I didn’t get the best grades in that subject at all,” said Zoey.

That changed for the fifth grader of Lindley Elementary School when she met her math teacher Deena Smith.

“Lots of people call her mean or strict, but I see it where she wants you to be better,” said Zoey.

Zoey managed to get better. Her grades improved and math became her favorite subject.

“When I came here, she helped me understand and I didn’t need any extra tutoring at all.”

Tracey Leigh, Zoey’s mother, says her daughter had an idea back then.

“She asked me to get her teacher her favorite candy. I asked what her favorite candy is, she likes Jolly Ranchers so we brought a thank you card, ”Leigh said.

Zoey Hand wrote a letter that said:

“At the beginning of the year I was so scared to be in your class. I thought you’d be that mean, bad teacher. It turned out that I was wrong. Last year I couldn’t even learn decimal numbers, but you helped me understand them thoroughly.

“You’re the only teacher I know who understands a fifth grader’s point of view. I’ve hated math for the past few years, but you make it one of my favorite subjects.

“Some people may call your jokes cheesy, but I call them funny.

“I never thought I’d say that, but math is the highlight of my day now. So if your job is to be the best teacher ever, your mission is complete. So I just wanted to say thank you. ”

“When she left, I took a moment and read it and I kind of skimmed it and thought, I can’t read this now because it will make me cry. Then I took a moment and when my kids were working on something I really read it. I was like, ‘Oh my god’ and my kids: ‘Ms. Smith, are you all right? ‘ I say, ‘I’m fine,’ ”said Smith.

She says it is a high point in her more than two decades teaching career and a moment she will never forget.

“Teaching is my job, it’s my job. Knowing I made that difference means everything, ”said Smith.

Although Zoey gives her teacher credit for overcoming an obstacle, Smith says that this is a testament to Zoey’s hard work and determination that should be an example to other students that if they work hard they can be successful.


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