courage


ok. i love homework....(i'm a teacher what can i say). so when I read about momalon's five for ten project I was in. In short, I have to post about set topics (courage, happiness, memory, lust and yes)...and a bunch of other bloggers out there will be doing the same. So here is my first installment. On courage.


I’ve had a lot of first days in the classroom.
Almost as many as a teacher as a student.

I wish I could tell you that I remember all of my students.
But with 150 or so almost adults a year.
Most of them start to blend together.
I forget names and even faces.

But my first year, those kids I remember the most.
And one in particular.

She was just a freshman and should have been as fearful of her first day in highschool as I was to be her teacher.

It was a science class and I don’t remember the lesson exactly.
We talked briefly about the difference between science and faith.
And how they weren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.
But that science was something that we could prove.
That we could hypothesize and test and collect data.
But that faith and beliefs, no less valid, could not be proven in this same way.

And this girl raised her wiry hand.
And said that she could.

I stared a little blankly at her.
Thinking maybe she had misheard me.
And I was too new at this to know any better so I gave her the floor.

And she stood.
And on her first day of high school were most of her students were worried about finding their classrooms, opening their lockers or if they were wearing the right brand of jeans.
She boldly shared her heart.
And went on about how her Jesus could be proven.
She talked some nonsense about the loch ness monster and ancient texts.
And I think I saw her knees shaking a little.
But her voice didn’t waver.
And her classmates listened.
No one snickered or laughed at her like I was afraid maybe they would.
And after a few minutes she sat back down.

I’m not sure what I said or did afterwards.
But the lesson continued.
And the year quickly drifted by.
And so did the last 10.

But this girl I remember.
Because it is not every day that a 14 year old stands up and gives the teacher a lesson on courage and faith that she will never forget.
(and the picture, that's her all grown up. a girl with that kind of courage. i never doubted her. not for a second.)

11 comments:

Corinne said...

So glad you're participating in Five for Ten :)
What a brave, courageous girl. I don't know that I could do that sort of thing, even today.
{and I think you are SO brave to live the first day of school every single year...}

Stacia said...

Goodness, to have that kind of courage as a teenager, not to mention such strength of conviction! (And I'm sure as a teacher, you're a model of courage for so many of your students.)

Michele said...

I can't imagine doing that on my first day of high school! I remember one of my teachers calling roll and I said "here" but much louder than I had planned, and a group of girls immediately snickered and started whispering to one another. To have the courage to stand and speak the way your student did, whether you agreed with her or not, is just amazing.

Launa said...

As a once-and-future teacher, I loved your comments. I love how you find the best in your students (which is what the best teachers always do) and how you respected the girl's courage even when she was still in the process of becoming.

THANKS for sharing this one!

TKW said...

Wow. My jaw is on the floor. As a former high school teacher, I have never seen such an act of courage and faith.

No wonder you never forgot her. That is a girl with mettle.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Like Kitch, I'm a former high school teacher and am very moved by this young woman's act of bravery. I'm also impressed by the way in which her display of the courage of her convictions seemed to have a pacifying effect on her classmates. Thank you for sharing this inspirational story, Michelle!

Samantha said...

Wonderful post, from another teacher. Thank you for posting this - we can too easily forget the courage it takes to be a student.

Glad I found you thru Momalom!

Sarah said...

I also would never forget. There are people I remember whose names I never even knew. But there was something they did or said or the way that they moved or helped or looked, that made me remember their face. I know it's not exactly the same as a 14-year-old bringing courage to the heart of your classroom, but I guess the point is that you never quite know when you are going to have a day like this, when something or someone is going to make such a lasting impression.

Beautiful post.

Rachel said...

Just today I wrote about the bravery of kids, but I always thought that that kind of blind security--where you didnt worry what other though--was gone completely by high school. Apparently not. Though I kind of love that her rant was total craziness about the lochness monster. This sort of restores my belief that we're all a bit nuts at that age.

a li'l bit squishy said...

When I was fourteen I phoned a radio station who's DJ had made some sad remark about the small town I lived in. I believed in myself and in that town. And he apologized and then probably laughed with his collegues.

Being a teacher takes such courage and strength, to nurture these minds and hearts and to treat them with respect. Thank you for recognizing that girl's courage even if not necessarily her argument.

Margie said...

Great story. I'm learning from you.