This was a tough assignment for me. The assignment is to think about someone who has impacted your life in a significant way. As I thought about my life, there isn't one person who jumped out, but several who have changed me in small, but significant ways.
My role models aren't people I necessarily want to emulate, but people who have challenged me, encouraged me to be more than I am, pushed me beyond what I thought I could be, carried me when I was unsure about the future.
Mrs. Sutton, my 11th grade AP English teacher. There is not enough time in this world to describe Mrs. Sutton. She was every students' dream teacher. She was compassionate, but tough. She didn't accept anything less than the very best. I was average; she made me excellent. I was cautious; she forced me to take risks. I saw black and white; she showed me all the shades of gray. She made me a better student, a better person.
Debbie C., my friend and co-worker. Debbie didn't laugh at my seventeen year old self when I walked in wearing blue eye shadow. She, a grown woman, befriended me and took me under her wing. She encouraged me to see beyond the moment, to consider the impact of my actions on my future, to think about what I wanted from my life. She made me a better friend, a better person.
Jim C., a college professor. In one conversation, Jim showed more compassion and understanding than I'd ever received before. I was overwhelmed, frightened, unsure about what to do. School had never been difficult for me before, but I couldn't handle the pressure of that semester. Jim told me to drop his class. "What harm can it do? You can pick it up next semester. Trust me." He helped me see my limits; he made me a better person.
My students: all of them. Over 9 years, I've taught approximately 225 2nd and 3rd graders. They have taught me about compassion, understanding, unconditional love. They've taught me to be patient, thoughtful, precise. They've shown me how the world is different for them, that the place they come from is not the place I come from. They made me a better teacher, a better person.
Sue and Donny, my parents. How can anyone ever say how their parents have impacted their lives? Everything in me that is patient, kind, thoughtful, helpful, and creative comes directly from my parents. I am my father's daughter when I make lists, need a plan, and analyze things. I am my mother's daughter when I create something, allow a bit of chaos to rule our home, and try something new. They made me a better daughter, wife, mother, a better person.