A Teacher's Gift
As I remember my past teachers, I remember one in particular because of the qualities she invoked in me
Dear Mrs McCallum,
I am grateful for the year I had with you when I was 12 years old. It was a time when I was hitting my pubescent years. My awkwardness and body growth were surpassing my ability to remain hidden and go undetected. I was becoming conscious and embarrassed with my growing bosom, my pimples were sprouting, my clothes were not cool enough, and my ability to interact with males except for my brothers was cringe worthy. My inherent tom boyish nature was beginning to be questioned mentally as my girlfriends started to shift a large amount of their time and energy onto appearances and boys.
At a time when hormones were circulating left, right and center, I never once remember you getting upset at a student or the classroom as a whole. I respected you for having respect for us and me individually. I remember you always smiling. It was a smile that came from the heart. There was no mask put on when you smiled to hide some discomfort or insecurity which now as an adult, I have seen this commonly working in the real world. Your smile seemed like you were really enjoying teaching, a vocation for you rather than it being just a job. What I appreciate was the loving and caring attitude you upheld so gracefully. In my eyes, you never faltered or showed any bitterness which I have come to see is a rare thing. Your baby blue eyes twinkled as you taught and whatever you saw in me, in us, made it the best year of school I have ever experienced.
My friends used to tease me that I was the 'teacher's pet.' For some reason you gave me the responsibility of having to go around all the classrooms and collect a certain piece of paper from all the teachers. The task permitted me to be free and exempted me doing classwork so I was always happy to go and it made me feel somewhat special. It was moments like this that I felt appreciated, worthy and valuable. So thank you for giving me the responsibility and trusting me with the task.
School life seems so trivial and when I look back, I hardly think of my school years as I was not at all enthusiastic about any of it. My year with you was my last year before attending high school where it was 5 years of challenging times. Therefore, when I do think of happy times at school, this year stands out for me.
Now that I am 34 and caring for two sons, I admire you for choosing a vocation which helps to guide and teach children. I can only dream that my boys can receive such care outside of their home when they begin school. I am becoming to understand that as a parent which could be likened to a teacher, we are in positions which are influential toward children. Sometimes I think I have been overwhelmed by this 'burden' and have sometimes committed self-sabotage to the detriment of my own learning and the development of my children. However, I now know that the influence I have with my children are largely positive, as I can see the changes that I made have impacted on the behavior of the children. Even though they are only 2 and 3, developmentally, nature may have changed their behavior without my influence at all. However, for me, the coincidences were too large and the changes were literally instant. I have a great respect for you as what you role modeled to me was humility, kindness, understanding, compassion, generosity and friendship. I hope and can only wait to see if I have instilled these qualities onto my own children.
This challenge inspired to reconnect with you and just through your messages, you remain the same kind and heartfelt woman that I remember.