There was a time in my life when the most important thing to me was simply fitting in. I was embarrassed all the time- to be smart, to be skinny, to stand out, to be different. All I wanted was to look like everyone and be like everyone and blend in with everyone. When my eighth grade English teacher called me up to the front of the room, congratulated me on getting perfect scores on all three English finals, told me I was special, and hugged me, I almost died right on the spot. It wasn't until a few years later that I could fully appreciate what a wonderful moment that was.
I think of this often as I navigate my way into teacherdom. I don't want to embarrass my students, but I hope that I will find a way to show them how unique and special they each are- and what a beautiful thing it is to stand out and to be different (for the right reasons, of course). Surely this is a lesson I will take to heart as I brave the job market this spring.
I saw a poster today in the theater teacher's classroom that said, "Be yourself. An original is always worth more than a copy." How great is that? All day I noticed students who did just that- my loud little 3rd block darling in her yellow pants, the popular boy who admitted to everyone that he's actually enjoying Romeo and Juliet, Little Miss Rock Band with her raspy voice and eclectic style... I could go on and on. The courage of these kids to simply be themselves is nothing short of admirable. I hope their peers will take notice and learn as much from them as I do.
Thank you, original teens, you made my day.