“This is Why I Teach”: the impact of an amazing teacher, in a student’s words - Mastery Charter School

“This is Why I Teach”: the impact of an amazing teacher, in a student’s words

Tamia Murphy
Molina Upper

Even for the most experienced teachers, the first year at a new school can be stressful and full of uncertainty. But for Tamia Murphy, her first year as a teacher at Mastery’s Molina Upper Elementary School, while challenging, highlighted exactly why she loves teaching.

Tamia was recently reminded of her inaugural year at Mastery as a student from her first class, Ralfi Lucero, shared an assignment that had him reflect on the connection he developed with her during that time.

For his first formal writing assignment for AP Language and Composition, Ralfi was asked to write about a memory – people, a moment, or a piece of advice – in a memoir format. He choose to write about Tamia, known to him as Ms. Murphy.

Ralfi, now a junior at Mastery High School of Camden, reached out to Tamia to let her know that she would be the focus of his writing assignment. Almost two months later, Ralfi sent over the final version of the memoir.

“I’m crying like a baby because I know that I’m doing something right… I know that my students know that my love for them is genuine,” shared Tamia on social media after reading Ralfi’s essay.

“It took my breath away,” Tamia said. “It’s been a few years since I taught Ralfi, but we didn’t mesh well that first year. It took some time before we established a relationship. I didn’t know the impact that I had on him, nor could I ever imagine the impact that those students would have on me.”

“Ralfi produced one of the top assignments,” said Ralfi’s current teacher, Ms. Larissa Mariani. “He knew exactly what he wanted to write about.” After grading and revisions, Ms. Mariani suggested that Ralfi send the completed assignment to Tamia. “As a teacher, I would love to receive something like that that from one of my former students,” said Ms. Mariani, who is in her first year teaching high school at MHSC.

“His memoir and just the thought of highlighting our relationship…this is why I do it, this is why I teach,” concluded Tamia.

Here’s an abridged version of Ralfi’s memoir:

Throughout my whole life, I’ve encountered numerous teachers and grew bonds with them. Yet, this particular teacher was more like a mother than a teacher to me. Ms. Murphy, a person filled with nothing but love, threw my very first lifeline.


Back in grade school, I was nothing but a kid with the smarts mixed with disciplinary issues. When I first met Ms. Murphy, she didn’t make an immediate impact in my life. My stubbornness always stood in between my bond with Ms. Murphy in 6th grade. I still remember the times when I’d disrespect her. Why did I act the way I acted? Honestly, I don’t know. The more I look back at it, the more I regret being who I was back then….


Ms. Murphy impacted my life in so many ways which to me is hard to just explain. Her love towards me was just like a mother’s love. She didn’t just teach me the periodic table or the chemical formula, but taught me valuable life lessons. In every moment I experienced with her, she always showed nothing but love and affection towards her students and me.  Ms. Murphy, a very strong woman, and someone who I look up to and always will, threw me my very first lifeline.”