Best friends forever

Mrs. Friedman’s four year students will always have a place somewhere in her heart


Salvador Delvecchio, Staff writer

“Once a kid enters my life and gives me the privilege of spending four years, not just teaching them what I’m about, Latin, but teaching them things about life,” says Friedman.  Friedman has been a member of the Portage Northern staff for a long time teaching both Spanish and Latin to grades 9-12.   Every year is always a struggle for Ms. Friedman, saying goodbye to students that have been with her for over 4 years is tough, but some of those students have a permanent space in her life. “I have some students that spend four years with me and are still in contact twelve years later… invited to weddings, baby showers, Facebook friends…,” says Friedman.

When talking with her former students, it is clear that the love and dedication goes both ways.  “She actively seeks you to help you,” says Octavia Valencia (12).  Fellow students of Octavia agree.  “She is also very interested in you doing well and learning the material,” says Hahri Sharma (12).

With all the stresses that the job of a teacher brings, Ms. Friedman still finds a way to get to know her students not just on an academic level, but also at a personal level.  “Kids tell me things that they wouldn’t even tell their parents,” says Friedman.  “She knows us on a very personal level like what’s going on in our lives and everything where as in college the professors aren’t really going to care,” says Evan Harrison (12). These are the kind of bonds that Friedman wants to build between her students.  However, this can’t be done unless the students buy into what she is all about.  “The degree that they buy into me is the degree that they allow me to buy into them,” says Friedman, “if they trust you, they’ll build a relationships with you.”

Many years ago, the idea that the parent was the primary educator of their child was the prominent belief, but with teachers like Friedman on the rise, it looks as if that could change in the near distant future.  New studies show that a teacher that is willing to build bonds with their students, helps create a positive learning environment.  According to New York University, “When teachers form positive bonds with students, classrooms become supportive spaces in which students can engage in academically and socially productive ways.”  This is the main reason why so many of her students enjoy taking her class, because not only do they study the material, but they learn it in a way that interests them and makes it enjoyable.

Out of the many seniors here at PN, almost all of them will graduate.  Out of those who graduate, most will be off to college.  But only a select few will have a friendship that will last a lifetime.  That type of friendship can only be found at Portage Northern with one special person: Ms. Friedman.