Wednesday, July 4, 2012

3 Months In Japan

I often think about the impact I have as a teacher.

When I was in second grade a teacher (not my normal teacher, it was a teacher from down the hall) sat us down and told us about an assignment that she had for us. We all sat in wonderment as to what she would have us do. She slowly began to take stacks of magazines, newspapers, and fliers and placed them on a long table at the front of the class.

"I want you to take a magazine and I want you to find a picture of anything. But it needs to be a profession. Something you want to do when you are older. What do you want to be?"

"Are you kidding me? What do I want to be!? Is this my lucky day? Because, if it I'm going to ace this project!" I thought to myself.

I grabbed a People magazine, a few sheets of blue construction paper, and glue. I found my way back to my desk and started flying through the magazine.

"Where is he...I know he has to be in here somewhere. I have to find him!"

I knew exactly what I wanted to be. I knew who and what. Then when and where would work itself out, I was sure of it. And then, there he was. Padded vest, jean jacket, and acid wash jeans. Michael J. Fox

Could it get any better?? Marty Mcfly, Teen Wolf, Alex P Keaton!! This was it! I made sure to cut carefully and precisely. As each cut was made I imagined what my life would be in the future. "Andrew Higgins", my name in lights! Who knows, maybe Mike...(we were friends so I could call him that) and I would get to be in movies together. At the very least we would be best friends. Going to parties, driving around Hollywood, and just being the best of friends.

As I finished cutting out Mike I placed him on the blue construction paper. I didn't put the glue on right away because I wanted to make sure he was positioned correctly on the paper. I managed to look around to see my other classmates progress, only to see that I was the only one who and already picked someone out of the magazine. Clearly this wasn't any easy choice for anyone but me. I regained focus on my work and when I decided where I wanted Mike on the paper I applied the glue and firmly placed his picture on his new background.

"How am I the first one done?? Oh well, this is great. Me and Michael J Fox, actors, friends, and pretty cool guys."

I stood up and made my way to the front of the class. I placed my masterpiece on the teachers desk and waited for her approval.

"What's this?"

"Oh, this is Michael J Fox (clearly!) I want to be an actor when I grow up!"

"Do you know how many of my classmates wanted to be actors when I was in school?"


"Most of them. And do you know how many actually became actors?"


"None of them. You aren't going to be an actor. You need to go pick something different."

That is where the story ends in my memory. I have no idea what I settled on. Was it a doctor or a fireman like so many of other classmates? Was it a construction worker or maybe a taxi driver? I honestly have no idea. The only thing I can remember is the crushing blow this "teacher" left me with. A second grader with hopes, dreams, and aspirations. A second grader who now has to settle for less than perfect.

This whole story leads me back to my opening sentence. What impact do I have on my students. I truly hope that I am 100% nothing like this second grade teacher! If I am anything less than supportive, encouraging, inspiring, caring, investing...then I am not being a teacher. I am being a baby sister. 

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