NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Jennifer Inthavan received a rock star welcome at Raguet Elementary, where she was a student teacher earlier this year.
Did ya’ll miss me?” Jennifer asked gleeful students. They surrounded her the second she came in the door. The students answer in chorus, “Yes!”
Raguet Elementary is the same school Jennifer attended in first grade, and it’s where she met Dottie Gottshall.
"Here is where the other teachers could observe as you and I were reading together," said Gottshall while pointing out the room where the two met each school day.
Jennifer needed help in reading and writing. Dottie was her reading recovery teacher. They would spend a half an hour each school day reading together.
“I had no idea I was struggling, so it was just like I felt like the lucky child," Jennifer said.
Fast forward 19 years when Jennifer began a teaching career path.
Her Stephen F. Austin State University professor and student teaching supervisor was vaguely familiar. It was Gottshall, who is now working at SFA.
“I remember telling her, ' I remember reading with you 30 minutes a day, every day,'” Jennifer said. “And she was like, ‘Yes, I was your reading recovery teacher.’ I was like, 'What? My reading recovery teacher?’ I had no idea.”
The reunion was a rewarding experience in Dottie's 48 years as an educator.
“To come full circle with one of my students - to see them as a child and grow up to become a caring, competent teacher on their own," Dottie said.
Dottie supervised another future teacher at Raguet, Jennifer’s mother Kathy Harris.
“I decided, ‘What can I do with my life that I can make a difference?’” Kathy said.
After putting her education on hold to raise her two children, Kathy returned to college studies a year and a half behind Jennifer. Attending many of the same classes together, Kathy quickly caught up to her daughter.
“She was taking, I remember, six, seven classes at a time and working full time,” Jennifer said.
Their mother-daughter conversations took a turn.
“Yes, all about school, all about the classroom, all about lesson planning,” Harris said with a laugh.
They both did their student teaching at Raguet. Together they’ll graduate from SFA on Dec. 15. They will even take jobs at Nettie Marshall in Nacogdoches. Jennifer will be teaching third-grade social studies. Kathy will be teaching third-grade bilingual English language arts.
“I think it’s great that we’re going to be able to work together. I find it to be a great opportunity, to be honest with you," Jennifer said.
The trio provides inspiration for struggling students, moms with dreams of their own, and educators making a difference.
The mother and daughter say they’ve been so busy with student teaching that so far, no celebration has been planned. They both have it on their to-do list.