Thanks For Believing In Me
You opened your door. Opened your arms to me. Smiled as I walked in with my bagpack and spilled out notebooks and planners and post-its and coloured pens all over your desk. You accepted the mess that I was—nervous, anxious, self-conscious, unsure—and you smiled at me because you saw what I could be when I couldn't see it myself.
You opened your classroom to me. Moved aside your staplers and pencil holders and papers to make a place for me next to you. You never treated me like a student, but like a colleague, turning to me for advice, letting me introduce myself, calling me 'miss'.
You gave me your books and lessons to glance over, then you trusted me to make my own decisions. You, with a healthy career and tremendous respect and shining students and an amazing reputation, gave me your trust. You handed me the attendance book and the remote for the projector and the chalk for the board and said, “Go.”
You believed in me. Me—who came in twice a week in my school uniform, a nervous hint in my steps—you trusted me. You nodded your head as I first began, as I cleared my throat and fired up my teacher voice, as I smiled and began learning names and taking reading groups and writing on the board in big, bold letters.
You smiled as I asked questions, as I remembered names, as I laughed and embodied the teacher I always hoped I might become.
Then you let me go. You stepped back. You gave me total control, freedom, independence. These were your students, your class, but you let them become mine too. And so I handled conflicts, I created connections, I built projects and gave lessons that deepened understanding, that helped our students grow, and that helped me grow.
I became the teacher I had wished to be back when I used to see kids hug their teacher, smile at their teacher, ask her questions, tell her stories, and love her. I had wanted to be a teacher like that, a teacher that made a difference and a teacher whom kids relied on. Now I am, because of you.
So thank you. Thank you for seeing what I couldn't—that confidence would come when I first opened my mouth and trusted myself, that teaching was natural once I was prepared, that I could, in fact do this. And thank you for not only guiding me, teaching me to laugh, and helping me to see how beautiful and rewarding your profession really is, but thank you, most importantly, for being such a brilliant friend to me this past year.
photo credit: clara nebeling