Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb12: celebrating the successes of 2012, honoring the challenges of 2012, and planting the seeds for a rich and rewarding 2013. December is the perfect time to reflect on the year that has passed and start to manifest dreams for the new year.
Day 17 – Think of one person whose life you made a difference to in 2012. What did you gain from this? How will you continue to make a difference in 2013?
I’d like to think that I make a difference in the lives of my students daily, but there was one student in particular who let me know just how much.
Every year, scores of students decide to take the honors class that I teach. Some of them are prepared for it, some of them think they’re entitled to it, and every now and then I get a student who isn’t quite sure. Aida came to me in May of this year, nervous and questioning whether or not she should take honors. When I asked her what was making her hesitate, she explained that her current teacher hadn’t recommended her, and had in fact really discouraged her from taking the class. Apparently she earned low scores on essays that she wrote in his class. So I told her to bring me a couple of her essays, and I’d let her know what grade I think she would have earned.
When I read her work, I saw a true thinker. A girl who was able to express herself with depth and insight, and that certain something that is indescribable; a rare quality that few students have and that can’t be taught. I told her that I absolutely knew she should take the class and that I thought she’d do well in it. I saw potential in her.
As this year has progressed, Aida is one of the few students who has consistently earned A’s on her essays because they were just that good. When she shares her thoughts in writing and in class I can’t believe this is the girl who was unsure about whether or not to take the class. She’s on of my best!
This Christmas, Aida wrote me a beautiful Thank You card, telling me just how much it has meant to her that I showed so much confidence in her abilities. She said that she’s learned so much already, and can’t wait to see what else she can do by the time she leaves my class in June. Her words warmed my heart. That’s why I teach.
Sometimes all it takes is that one person who believes in us. That person who pushes us to do the scary, unknown, unthinkable thing that we end up realizing is exactly what we should have been doing all along. I will continue to push my students, and Aida in particular, in 2013.