It was the first day at a new school. I was transitioning from middle school to high school and to say it was overwhelming would be an understatement. Few of my junior high friends would be joining me and although my brother was a senior, he wanted nothing to do with me (a lowly freshman). Being the stubborn person I am, I took a deep breath and dove headfirst into my new adventure. After dealing with some registration issues, I received my schedule and gave it the once-over. I was pretty surprised to see Reading Comprehension listed as one of my classes, but I shrugged it off and headed to find my homeroom. When it came time to enter my reading class, I was still quite skeptical but took it all in stride. Because it was my first day and I was a newbie, I figured the school had to know what the right classes for me were. My teacher (Ms. Curtis) introduced herself and explained how the class would be structured. Right away, I knew that I was going to enjoy this class because it would give me a chance to do what I loved best: write. We were to keep a journal, where we could write about anything we wanted to and it would be kept between us and Ms. Curtis. In turn, she would respond to our entries and give us feedback. I was more than excited about this prospect and enthusiastically wrote to her every day. I began by writing about mundane topics, but I eventually wrote about more personal things as the semester progressed. Ms. Curtis became much more than a teacher to me in those weeks; she was a mentor and (I felt) a friend. I knew I could tell her absolutely anything and she wouldn’t judge me. She always gave me fantastic advice and I found myself feverishly anticipating her class. She treated all who were in her class equally and with a great amount of care and attention. I often found myself telling her things that I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone else and it meant a lot to me, the personal touch she gave my journal.
I wasn’t long in her class before the school discovered they had made a
mistake with my schedule and I was never supposed to have been enrolled
in a reading class. Although I was happy to know I would be placed in
more advanced classes, I was going to miss this particular one a great
deal. I felt as though I had been open and vulnerable in a way that
helped me adjust to a major transition in my life. I may not have needed
the class academically, but I know that I benefited from it on a much
higher level. It may have been a mistake, but I’ll always believe that
it was a divine mistake.
It wasn’t just me either, no; she
touched many young lives at my high school. Even within my small circle
of friends, we all loved her just the same. There aren’t many teachers
who make you feel like family, but she did. I even had her over at my
house once! I can’t say that about any other teacher I’ve ever had in my
life. She’s a special woman, a rare gem. I’m blessed to have her in my
life to this day and to have profited from her profound influence. She
changed me (and my life) in so many ways. I wish I could explain the way
she touched my heart, but I don’t think I need to. I see it; it comes
out brilliantly in my writing and in my thought-processes. It’s almost
as though I can envision her responses even though she is no longer
writing them to me. I’m forever blessed by simply knowing her and I take
great pride having been her student, mentee and now, friend.