A Teacher Who Cares

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Whether or not I can call myself a writer, I know I love writing. I know I love the words that stand alone on a paper, the way that a page of text looks as though its bowing down to the rules of conformity, when we all know that not to be the case. I am also a shy person. There’s something about being around educators: the way you want to please them but at the same time make yourself look interesting and entertaining. With my love for writing in one hand and my unnatural worry for what others think in the other I entered eight grade with a lot of expectations. I wanted a teacher that would challenge me, somebody that wasn’t afraid to show themselves in their own work, and most importantly someone that I could admire for just being them. As it turned out, I got them all. By the end of this year I might not know why I write. But I know one thing. Through Debra Baker’s passionate guidance I have found that when I put pencil to paper I fill up a voice I do not normally have.

Outside of Room 309 Ms. Baker has challenged me more then any teacher has before. There have been the ones that have given me extra work, the ones who sat through at lunch while I asked them to read over an essay. But Ms. Baker? During the course of one night alone I’ve received an email with four different contest options to share my work - giving me a chance to expand my audience, while at the same time strengthening my confidence in my writing. She’s given me grammar workbooks, links to articles she thinks I could learn from, and what I feel to be most important, writing of her own.

Writing is just about as personal as it gets, which makes me feel just the more fortunate when I’m given the chance to see what’s going on in my teacher’s head. Ms. Baker exceeded these expectations. Over this year I have read many pieces of her writing and after being shown these I started to not just absorb them but to base my own writing off of them. The way in which she manages to make sense of what she sees inspires me to try just the harder with my own writing. When you get to sit down with your teacher and their own work, suddenly the idea of crafting words into stories doesn’t become an activity forced upon you at school. It becomes something that adults do, maybe even something that you want to do when you are an adult.

At the heart of all of this is the way in which I see her approach our world. This past week our school has participated in the National Day of Silence. For one day students are challenged to go silent, a way in which to symbolize the silence that is forced on so many gay, lesbian, and bisexuals in the world. Ms. Baker was not silent that day; from the whiteboard she spoke with a voice I found to be more powerful than any symbolic message we were choosing to take part in. She spoke the words of people who had been led to suicide by others, made the image of Charlie Howard and Carl Walker Hoover stay in our heads long enough for us to think about what we could do to end this daunting discrimination. In class I see her approach each student with a different set of ideas, and I truly feel as though she is invested in watching every single one of us create masterpieces. Over this year Ms. Baker has become my role model, not because she’s a teacher, maybe not even because of her writing. It’s because of this: when I’m an adult I want to be able to face the world with the same intentions and ideas that my 8th grade Literacy teacher showed me.

It is getting the time in the semester when my classmates are impatiently counting down the days until their summer. This year I do not think I will be one of those students; instead I will be anxiously watching as the month grows long, creeping closer and closer to graduation. I won’t be reluctant to enter high school next year, I’ll be sad to see my teacher go, knowing that in the years to come, whoever my English teacher might be, nobody will ever be as much of a role model as Ms.Baker was to me.





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volleybelle said...
May 11, 2011 at 8:34 am
Great piece! I wish I could write like this!
 
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