As a second grader, I was as goofy as a kid could possibly be. Enormous freckles, big (crooked) buckteeth, unruly oh-so-stringy hair… I was a mess. I longed to be like the girls who could keep their bows in their hair all day, or their tights clean and unripped. Wasn’t going to happen. But at least I had spirit! I was spunky, intelligent, into everything. I asked a million questions, loved to read, loved to get dirty just to so I could learn something cool. I was a challenge. My report cards always stated something like, “Lisa is a very intelligent student, but she tends to be more social than is appropriate in the classroom.”
As a second grader, I met one of the most inspirational models of my life – Mrs. Barras, my teacher. SHE was spunky and intelligent. SHE said things in class that made me close my mouth and listen. SHE had a gigantic cardboard robot that talked and I was impressed. It was 1980 after all – this was cutting edge stuff! Most importantly, she was my inspiration for the path I’ve taken in life.
As a second grader, I decided I wanted to be a teacher more than anything else in the world. I would later become a moron and think that teaching wasn’t really a good profession, and that I should be doing something more important with my life. And I even started college on a completely different path, only to find out a semester into my program that teaching really was what I wanted to do all along. That Mrs. Barras was still indeed my inspiration. That I had it right at 8 years old.
Tonight I found Mrs. Barras on Facebook. I’ve been wanting to look her up for many years, 15 in fact, as that is how many years I’ve been teaching. I’ve wanted to tell her thank you for being so wonderful to and patient with this stringy-haired, odd little girl. I’ve wanted to tell her how she inspired me to be a teacher. I’ve wanted to apologize for the scandalous picture I drew of her, even though it wasn’t my idea and that the boys in class made me do it… maybe I’ll save that part of my message to her for later.
So, the message has been sent. I haven’t heard anything back. But, my heart is just happy. It’s not everyday that you get to tell a person that inspired your life’s path that they have done as much. With that in mind, I feel I need to reach out more to the people who have made a big impression on my life and tell them how important their words and actions have been to me. Everyone needs to feel their life has made an impact on others, that they’ve made a difference. It seems selfish of me to keep that from them when that validation could inspire even more action. I want to be an encouragement in that way as it in turn makes other people happy. What more could I want than to repay people who have meant so much to me with a bit of happiness?