Mr. Mosley

Describe someone who has influenced you.

“If you only learn one thing all year, I hope it isn’t which side won the Civil War, or how Kennedy and Krushchev saved the world,” a middle-aged man with peppered hair and round glasses candidly stated from the front of the room, “but that school is nothing but a small step in the journey of your life and undeserving of all your stress. Take things one at a time and you’ll find that you will be successful if you give everything one-hundred percent.” When I first heard my U.S. History teacher, Mr. Mosley, state these words with such force my freshman year, their meaning eluded me. I found them idealistic and impractical. But by the end of my two and a half years with him, I realized just how practical his advice is.I first met Mr. Mosley as an easily intimidated freshman on Halloween 2001 — my first day at Princeton High School. The nonchalance with which he helped me adjust startled me. “Even though you took World History at your other school, I’m sure you’ll have no trouble acing the test on the Constitutional Convention in two days,” he told me. The idea of taking a test with so little preparation chilled me. What if I didn’t get the coveted “A?” I went home and read over the chapters on which I would be tested. I had no opportunity to fret about any perceived inequality. Although I did not receive a remarkably high score on that test, I learned my first lesson from Mr. Mosley: that I should not worry about the results and give everything I do one-hundred percent. In this way, I made the most of my freshman year by becoming a helpful contributor to the debate team and the student newspaper.The following year, I entered Mr. Mosley’s AP U.S. History with greater confidence. Now, able to worry less about grades, I concentrated on grasping the Big Ideas of American history over the minute details. Teaching more mature sophomores, Mr. Mosley entrusted us with new life lessons. He revealed the unglamorous aspects of the Advanced Placement curriculum. It was limiting; it forced creative teachers to teach to a specific test. However, he was not bitter or discouraging. He wanted to initiate the change from the inside by telling his students the truth. Taking his lead, I dared to critisize such and such in my Tower editorials, sometimes taking not only the opposite stance of the school, but the opposite belief of Mr. Mosley. Our school had always had an unwritten “No-Cut” policy for Junior Varsity and Varsity sports. I spoke out against this policy in an issue of Tower by pointing out that Princeton High employs strict selection guidelines for its bands and theater group and should make no exception for sports.I asked Mr. Mosley to become my independent study advisor for my junior year. His classes had inspired me to pursue the study of U.S. history. Although Mr. Mosley left Princeton High School halfway through that year, his have philosophies remained. Now, whenever I verge on stressing over a ten-page paper, I heed Mr. Mosley’s words. I understand now that self-worth is not measured quantitively, based on test scores or dollars earned, but qualitively. I focus on each thing I do, giving it one-hundred percent.

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