There was this student I taught about two years ago. I want to call her Laura, for the sake of anonymity.
Laura was very quiet in class, not someone I noticed. She missed a few classes here and there, but nothing drastic. When Laura emailed me onE day discussing a certain health issue, she was embarrassed and uncomfortable revealing her chronic illness. I responded with openness, and informed her of my own struggle. Her eyes lit up everytime she saw me after this mutual sharing of vulnerability. Laura did wonderfully in the class, even though she missed many classes.
But that’s not my point. Girls are conditioned and taught to be submissive, shy, and ashamed of themselves, their bodies, and of course, difference. I didn’t do much for Laura. I simply spoke to her and shared my vulnerability. It did wonders. I haven’t been in touch with her since she did graduate, but just recently, after a lot of pressure (haha) I started a public snapchat account. Laura added me and one of the first things she said was “I am happy you exist in this world.”
Maybe those words don’t ring a bell with most of you, but for me, at a time when I have started doubting existence and meaning, these words really made me feel so alive. What can I say? They say teachers have tons of people remembering them. We might fall short in our personal lives, with our partners, families, but at school, we make a difference.
And that’s all for now.