I am a regular reader of Momo Fali‘s blog and this week she posted a letter to one of her junior high teachers. It got me thinking about all of my teachers and how they made an impact in my life.
There was Mrs. Snapp, my creative 2nd grad teacher who let me be her helper; Mr. Kline, my cool spirited art teacher whom I always looked up to and who 15 years later remembered my name; Mr. Thompson, the quirky Spanish teacher who I think could see my potential; and Mrs. Yoder the scary principal who calmed and loved me after I got my first speeding ticket and was tardy to school (which also was going to get me Saturday school).
I had many kind-hearted, loving, wonderful teachers. However, I have recounted one memory many times over the years.
It was my sophomore year at a new high school. My parents had bought a new house and moved the summer after my freshman year. I was devastated. Although the new school was only 20 minutes away and I knew a few people already, I was completely angry that I had to leave the little niche I had built for myself. I began putting all my efforts into keeping my old friends and making new friends that my school work wasn’t even on the radar.
So my parents took action and had a big round table meeting with all my teachers. One by one they spoke of the things I needed to work on and what made me not such a great student. It was actually pretty tough to hear and I remember just sitting there crying.
Well the week after that happened we had a quiz in our history class. It was only a 5 or 10 question quiz but someone in the class before us had given me the answers. So I wrote them on a small piece of paper and hid it under my hand. As the teacher walked around handing out the quiz she so caught me. Now this teacher was no ordinary teacher, she was known as being the hardest, meanest one of the bunch. I prepared myself to be humilitated in front of the whole class, but that’s not what went down.
She took the cheat sheet and told me to see her after class. Grrr-eat. However, after class she spoke to me with empathy and said she knew I was under a lot of pressure to perform well and that she’d give me a second chance. I thanked her and that was that.
However, that is a big moment that stands out for me in high school. She could have easily embarrassed me and given me an F. She chose to act with kindness and compassion and that was such a huge example to me. It made me believe in second chances and treating others with the same love she showed me when they mess up.
Thank you Mrs. Givler.