Friday was a heck of a day for me. I was walking down the hallway to the classroom I teach in, and one of my students met me at our classroom door.
“Mrs. Hoekstra, you’ll never believe what I did!” she said with such excitement on her face.
I smiled, “Oh no…something bad?” And she looked at me and what she said next nearly brought me to tears…
“Remember in class when you told us to just try writing. I sat down at my computer and I typed seven pages about my life after high school! You told us to write down what we didn’t like about writing, our fears, and when we got to do that on paper, then tear it out of our notebooks and throw it away–that gave me confidence! Your class gives me so much confidence! I know we haven’t had a major writing assignment yet, but I just wanted to show you I could do this! Could you read this for me?”
I smiled…choking back tears…”I sure can, thank you.”
What this student didn’t know is that Thursday was a particularly challenging day for me in the classroom. In a different class, I had a student who hit every nerve I have, tried her best to get under my skin, and she did. I let it show. Sometimes my facial expressions give me away (and I know, and I try so hard to work on that).
What this student didn’t know is that I turned 37 on Wednesday. I was in “birthday coma.” I didn’t really want to be on campus Friday.
What this student didn’t know is that I was already dreading the day. I debated on even going with the planned lesson because I was in such a mood…just doubting myself in the lesson and my ability to present the material.
My day turned around completely when this student, so proud of something that can be so challenging, brought me a seven-page essay that hasn’t even been assigned.
I encourage you to pause and reflect on your day, your week and think about the times you’ve learned something from someone—you can learn from others if you allow yourself to pause, forget all about the issues or negativity that surrounds you…
I forget that at times…and usually when I realize how much of a “Debbie Downer” I’ve been, I want to kick myself.
I learned that there is excitement in writing. A student who expressed fears, concern and downright hatred for writing turned all of that into a seven-page essay. There is happiness in setting a goal for yourself and reaching it. She told me she wanted to write something about her life after high school…and she did it. There is a sense of accomplishment..seven pages…that is huge! Especially for a student who said she hit delete more times than she could count on some of her past homework assignments.
We all experience moments in life when we feel down…when we want to have “boo hoo” time…eat a gallon of ice cream…we say things we don’t mean in anger…we shut people out who want to help…we suffer in silence…
Learn from others…you never know who may be listening or watching…and what kind of impact you may have on someone.