Today I got a sad call from a good friend who still works at my old school. A student I had just a short few years ago was killed in a car crash on her way to school this morning. Old co-workers and students are devastated, and upon hearing the news I was just sort of, well, stunned.
You see, as a teacher I have had what seems like 20 gazillion students. Some make big marks, and others not as much. But, EVERY one of my students makes some sort of mark. All the students I have ever taught make me who I am as a teacher and person- they have molded me, they have shaped me, and they have taught me how to be the teacher that I am today. I am so thankful for every student who has walked into my classroom. But this young lady, well, she was one of those who made a big mark. She made my job easy, and fun, and sometimes silly.
She was a very positive soul.
It is a sad day for sure. For those who knew and loved her, and for those people like myself who were just briefly touched by her presence. She made a positive impact on me as a teacher- by watching her grow and thrive in my classroom, and also seeing her grow as a friend to others and as human being. Although I didn’t know her “well”, I knew she would grow up to be a strong, independent, and smart woman. Watching her leave on the last day of her eighth grade year with some tears in her eyes I was excited for her future- for the impact she was going to make on the world.
But she won’t be able to make that impact. At least not in the future. The world isn’t better with her gone. But, it is times like this that I am reminded of how I am so appreciative of what she, and all my students give me every day.
They give me laughs. They give me knowledge of what is “in” today. They keep me young, while making me feel really old. They remind me of how my brain is past the “adolescent” age- and sometimes that’s good and sometimes I kinda miss those crazy feelings. They make me think on my feet. They make me be creative, and empathetic, and thoughtful. They remind me of hope. They show me a world that could be. A better one.
She, like all of my students make an impact. They have all made me a better person. And when tragedy like this happens, I am reminded how lucky I am to to get to spend a short time with these amazing people.
Rest in peace, sweet girl.