Last night, Jeremy and I discussed a lot of things about our childhoods. And during this conversation, I came to the understanding that thought parents have much to do with who we become in life, I can honestly attribute many of my successes to help received from my teachers. It was eye opening, and I wanted to share it with you.
Honestly, school was rough for me. I made mistakes left and right during my elementary years, I wasn't great at math or science, or any subject for that matter. I tried at everything, but always came up short. It wasn't until 5th grade when my teacher, Mr. Gravely (said Graahv-lee) somehow spotted that I had dyslexia that I started to shine. He taught me tips and tricks to somehow 'double check' my work (be it math or writing papers) before turning it in - or speaking aloud in front of my classmates - that gave me confidence and the courage to try.
A few years later in 7th grade, I was still doing well in school when my world started to collapse around me. My cousin (which I adored ) and my pseudo-grandparents (really the only grandparents I had known until that point) had all passed away within a matter of months. My spanish teacher, Mrs. Soto, noticed that I was withdrawn and worried most of the time - and when she asked what was wrong I doubled over in tears and told her. She was the first person to ask, and she was ready for it. She enrolled me in TAG - Teenage Grief classes, and even jumped through the hoops necessary to make sure that I could go to them, without ever involving my parents.
Those TAG Classes taught me so much more than I could have ever hoped for. They helped me to learn how to cope with any form of loss, and they gave me the understanding that I wasn't alone or without hope that I would need over and over in my lifetime. Without these classes, I am not sure I would have been equipped for the losses of my Daddy or my Best Friend that were looming in the distance.
Lastly, Gary Lindberg - though I had good grades and could have went on to do anything in my adult life, I really enjoyed printing my own designs in Graphic Arts. Art wasn't something that I had ever thought about as being a career, but with his help I came to understand that I could indeed do what I love, and prosper. He encouraged me left and right, and allowed me to 'do my own thing' and was impressed with my results. I was excited when I finally decided to do what I loved to do, and continue on to get my Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design, which lead me to where I am today!
Now these are three teachers that 'formed' my youth for the better - there are a few teachers that tried to set me back - one was a year or two before Gravely - her name has changed these days but I recall her thinking that all of her students were thieves and accused us left and right for stealing from her. She was quite persuasive too, and bullied some of my classmates into taking blame for things they did not do.
Another professor that I had in art school decided to tell me that i was wasting my time, that my goals were not high enough. Why spend all this money on schooling to do something that Joe Smith is doing in his home office right now... ? Well, one - to pay your salary lady! (though she should have been fired at that moment) and two, I am ACTUALLY doing exactly what I said I wanted to do in that forum, even without her belief in me.
She too was a bully, and her bullying may have worked on my other classmates, but she didn't know who she was talking to... and really should never have said those words to any of her students. That is what separates a good teacher from a bad, encouragement, and a desire to help others succeed, despite the challenges that come their way.
Was there a teacher that made a difference in your life? I hope that everyone has had someone in their life that motivated them, and encouraged them to pursue what makes them happy.
If not, I can tell you that I do! I know that YOU can do anything if you put your mind to it and follow through. Baby steps or giant leaps... you really can. And there are other people in your life that believe in you, even if they don't make a point of saying it.
Best of luck in all of your adventures,