Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January 12th: An Inspirational Day

Today's positive thought caught me completely off-guard! This past Saturday most of our eighth graders took their high school entrance exam. The students that I've spoken to about the test have said it was fairly easy for them. That doesn't surprise me; we have some amazingly intelligent kids in this class. One or two students mentioned the essay they had to write as part of the exam, and while we discussed how they felt they did on the essay it never occurred to me to ask them what the topic was.

At recess today, like every other day, a group of eighth grade girls came in to visit with me. I'm not completely convinced that my presence is actually necessary for them to have this daily conversation...I never really get a word in. It totally confounds me how any of them can keep track of the conversation as they are quite often talking over one another. If you've ever been around teenage girls, you'll know what I'm talking about.

At one point a few of the girls had left the room, and Sarah started talking about Saturday's test. One thing you should know about Sarah before I continue, this is only her second year at our school. Last year, just a day or two before her seventh grade year began, she and her father stopped by the school hoping that there might be an opening in the class. They were disappointed when our school secretary informed them that the class was full, but they took an application anyway and left their phone number just in case.

The very next day...we got a call from a family informing us that they would not be returning to the school. Shortly after that phone call, Sarah and her dad returned with her application all filled out...just in case. Fate...divine intervention...whatever you want to call it, Sarah has been a blessing to her class and to me as her teacher. From the very first day of school last year, she fit right in. You never would have guessed that she was a new student.

It was so meant to be!

Back to today. Sarah started telling me about the high school entrance exam. I was expecting to hear her take on how easy it was. Instead, she began talking about the essay portion. She explained that the topic was "Someone who inspires you." She said that most people wrote about parents or athletes or people from history. Then she quietly added, "I wrote about you."

It took a moment for that to register. My brilliant, heart-felt response: "Wait...what?"

"I wrote about you," she repeated.

She started to explain why she wrote about me, but my brain was practically buzzing, trying to process this information. How had this happened? Why would she choose me? I'm not inspiring...am I? I so wish I could remember what she'd said. I'd plaster it all over every wall at home so I could remind myself that somehow, some way, I've made a difference. I touched at least one person in this life.

But maybe I don't really need to know why. The fact the she feels I inspired her...that truly is enough. And, I have to add just one thing...the feeling is very mutual, Sarah! I have learned so much about what it is to be a teacher since you came into my life. You've made my world a better place just being in it.

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Photo: candle in the dark by pratanti


  1. That's what it's all about isn't it? It's really nice to hear that you've made a difference in a child's life. It makes all the other hassles worthwhile. Nice post!

  2. Wow, I have tears in my eyes. You are always a blessing to someone, you are lucky to be able to know who that someone is! (And an inspiration to me as well.)

  3. Thank you both for your comments!

    I received an email from Sarah this afternoon stating that she wants to be able to research the earthquake in Haiti and then develop some sort of fundraiser for it. Totally on her own!!

    She's just amazing!