When I was in…
…Kindergarten, I learned the word “violence”. I still remember the horrified look on my teacher, Ms. Leebove’s, face when she heard that I had gotten in trouble in gym for taking something from someone. What the gym teacher didn’t see is that the girl took it from me. I was just getting it back. However, I learned to do right by others even if they’re not treating you right. Outsiders will make assumptions for which you will have to pay consequences.
…first grade, I was tardy one time and had no absences. The tardy I had was a day I had a dentist appointment. When I got to school, my teacher (Ms. Salarry) showed my mom that she had already marked me tardy because she knew I was coming. That day I learned that being timely and having good attendance is something to take pride in and it’s expected.
…fourth grade, I had a teacher who called me “mouth from the south.” That year, I was the top student, but I also got my first 2 in citizenship. My uncle died that year and my granny had a stroke. Having Mrs. R. Hawkins, that year helped me to understand that it was ok to express myself in times of emotional frustration.
…fifth grade, I had a teacher who was a Muslim, Mrs. Muhammad. She taught me so much! However, I was a skeptical kid so she’d say things and I would look them up if I disagreed. 99% of the time she was right. One day she told me “Little Sister, I love that you challenge what I say and don’t just take my word for it.” I’ll never forget that. It felt great to have an adult in my life not feel like I was threatening their authority with my 10 year old opinions.
…seventh grade, I had a teacher who made me enjoy science for the first time in my life. One day, we were playing a game in which each table of 4 students became a team. My team sat in the front RIGHT NEXT to Mrs. Rucker. A question came up about muscles. My team insisted that biceps work more than the heart. Since I was outnumbered, I relented. We held up our card and got it wrong. Then Sheryl stopped the game and made a general statement. She said “If you are right and you KNOW you’re right, I don’t care how many people oppose you, you stick to your response until everyone changes to your answer.” I knew she was talking to me and she wasn’t just talking about the game.
…ninth grade, I had the most awesome English teacher ever. I hated English before high school, she was convinced somehow that I was good at it though. At the end of the year, Mrs. Green recommended me to be in the Pre-AP track. Amongst innumerable other things, from her I learned that sometimes other people believe in your gift even when you’re unaware that it’s there.
…tenth grade, I joined the Harp and Vocal Ensemble. Mrs. Ross, who is so full of wisdom, stopped us from singing one day when we were doing a horrible job and made us intermingle and stand next to another one of our sisters from different sections. It seems simple enough. I’ll be singing the same thing, but without the support or crutch of my sisters from my section. We sounded great. From that tiny exercise, I learned that support systems are good, but there are some things that end up a lot better when you hold your own.
…twelfth grade, I had one teacher who I had had twice before for other classes. MC loved me. After all, she had seen me grow from the extremely insecure nervous ninth grader to the maturing senior. You’d think that since I was so close to the grade and I knew her so well she’d just GIVE me an A for once! But no, she gave me the B+ I had earned. From her I learned that while it’s good to be close to the right people, that won’t always work in your favor that way you hope that it will. You reap what you sow.
I’m pretty sure none of them remember these days that changed the course of my life.
You may feel insignificant, but everything you do matters and makes an impression on someone.