Monday, February 23, 2009


Saturday night I did a photo shoot for a Mardi Gras party. When I left, I headed toward the interstate that would deliver me almost to my front door. I was on my happy little way...until I missed the interstate exchange.

And ended up in a not so safe part of town.

At 11:30 at night.

Did I mention that I was completely unfamiliar with where I was?

I was in a panic, heart racing, every single convenient store was closed, barred, locked up. Few street lights. Please tell me you've NEVER been in a similar situation!

I called H and he delivered me safely to the interstate. (Thank you, God, for cell phones!)

I was telling my sweet students this little story today. How scared I was because I was lost. How it felt to not know where I was, etc. Several students were twittering. After all, it IS a little funny to know that an adult was so scared!

However, one of my students was looking more and more worried.

Finally, he piped up and said, "Mrs. Benson! You should NEVER have been on that road by yourself so late at night!!!! It is dangerous. People get SHOT there!"

Have I mentioned that I teach SECOND GRADE???? What in the world does an eight year old know about people getting shot?????? And aren't the roles reversed here? Shouldn't I be the one protecting him and not the other way around?

My heart grew two sizes that day. (um...this day).

And then I got this note in my box:

"I choose Mrs. Benson as the rotary teacher for March. Mrs. Benson was my second grade teacher. I appreciate not only everything that she taught me, bu also that she never gave up on me. She always had time for me and she always encouraged me to do my best in everything I did. She loved me and cared about me." (Former student who is in 5th grade this year and has matured into the most amazing young man.)

My heart almost thumped out of my chest as tears coursed down my cheeks. I stood in the office and sobbed as if my heart was in a million pieces.

There are mornings when I detest getting up. I grumble about dressing M and sending her off to be in the care of others. I miss her tremendously during the day and wish we were together. But, friends, that note is exactly why I do what I do. I teach so I can make a difference just like that. That note was a career maker. I can live off that high for years.

My heart grew two sizes today.


Kyla said...

Awww, both of those are very heartwarming!

Andi said...

Ok, I have in fact felt just like you when lost in certain parts of our city...and your student is right...there are just places around here that we should not be, but neither should they (our students). It does hurt to know what kinds of things they deal with so near their homes...THE place where we ALL should feel safe.
About your Rotary Teacher note: I am not surprised in the least. I have told you that I teach children in the 7th grade that get misty-eyed when I mention my friend, Ms. Benson! They LOVE you, and you COMPLETELY make THE difference in their lives! You deserve that SO MUCH!!! Congrats :)

Kimberly said...

I am SO glad that you made it there okay, and I agree with you. What should a 2nd grader know about that type of situation?!

Christina said...

Aww Natalie, what a sweet, tender, heartwarming and also tragic story! No child that are should understand such dangers...but his concern is so touching. Congrats on the award and sweet note - not that it at all surprises me!

Golightly said...

What a sweet story. Isn't it nice how God gives us those sweet surprises right when we need them the most.

melody is slurping life said...

Oh, I have a chill over reading this. You are indeed making a tremendous impact on your fortunate for them.

And NO! That header...M...she looks so big, so older! I have to get out more in bloggy land again.

Really, we still need to meet "in-between" some day...but not on the road alone at midnight. ;)

Maggie said...

That is so sweet! Your students are so lucky to have you!