You only need HOPE

October 22, 2011
By Anonymous

“Ms. Siddall? I’m stuck on how to do this,” I raised my hand as she stood beside me; scanning the Algebra II problem I was working on. Her fingers rested on the side of the table for a few second as she processed the words in her head on how to explain it to me differently.

Ten years, that’s how long I have struggled with math. Ever since I could remember, and even beyond then, I could never figure out math. And now that I am a sophomore in high school, math is literally kicking my butt. With Physics and world history, English and Spanish; math just seems like a distant object. I do not have time to sit at home for more than an hour and worry about getting the math homework. But, I do worry about passing the class of course.

“Ok so, what you do is…” She started explaining. I remember the first day of school still. I sat in the back next to the only girl I really knew. Ms. Siddall stood up front, with the biggest smile I have ever seen on her face. She was welcoming the new kids and welcoming back the kids she had in the previous years. As for me, I was one of those new kids. Not once have I had a class with her, let alone seen her around school.

I remember staring at her hair. A grown woman with hair I could kill for, coming just above her bottom. I have been trying to grow my hair out that long since fourth grade, after I chopped it off to donate it to Locks of Love. They make wigs for cancer patients; and that is when it hit me, the “news”.

Over the summer she was diagnosed with bone cancer. She described how hurtful it has been for her, and how much treatment she was going thought. I honestly did not think too much of it except for one question that has always stayed on my mind, “how?” How in the world could she come to school every day and stand in front of the class and teach? Was her back made out of metal, or was her pain tolerance?

She teaches like no other math teacher does. It is like she’s a high school kid all over again, except this time; she is helping and not learning. She makes jokes about the math lingo. She makes funny scenarios to remember how to solve a type of function. I actually looked forward to going to math class. She laughs and cracks jokes more then all my teachers combined. And the only time I see her yell at kids who acting up is when she is in pain.

I heard myself thank Ms. Siddall as she walked off. My math problem done, and I finally got how to do it. The next problem I did was not part of the assignment, but I was so excited I couldn’t help but try it out. Staring at the paper, I thought Oh my goodness, I finally get this!

Most people ask themselves “why me?” but if Ms. Siddall said she never asked herself that, I would not be surprised. She comes to work every day, in pain or not, and teaches her students math. She goes through every medicine I could name off, been to the hospital more times in the last few months then I have been in my entire life; and yet, she still keeps her head high and her spirit strong. I never heard a single word come out of her mouth that sounds like anything but hope.

And that’s all she needs; hope. She gives me hope that I can learn how to do math. And I will give her all my hope that she will come out of this. Cancer will not win because none of us will let it, especially her. If I could only have one role model to live by, you better believe it would be her.

The author's comments:
I hope you are reading this Ms. Siddall.

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This article has 6 comments.

Charlie said...
on Oct. 21 2013 at 9:53 am
I thought the plot of this story was coherent and introduction, conflict, climax and resolution was very clear. Through this is non-fiction story, since the plot, background, and dialogues were clearly written, I really got into the story while I was reading. It is written from first point of view, and it describes how the main character "I" felt about the math teacher Ms. Siddall's bone cancer. Also, the title of this short non-fiction story best describes the most significant part pf this story, "You only need HOPE".

5th period. said...
on Dec. 1 2011 at 8:21 pm
Holy moly, I'm in this story(: Siddall is truly inspirational, and we all know she will beat this

on Nov. 30 2011 at 6:39 pm
Brittbyheart SILVER, Yucca Valley, California
6 articles 9 photos 44 comments

Favorite Quote:
No matter what you do in life, in the end, the only person that will take impact is you.

Thanks!I just wanted you to know I did send this to her, an it went viral around school. Everyone loves it, and made them relise how much she means to her students.

on Nov. 29 2011 at 9:01 pm
This is a very cute story. I hope you keep trying in math to pass the class plus all your other classes! Keep up the writing it seems it may be a way for you to get away and relieve stress. Cant wait to see me articles from you!

on Nov. 29 2011 at 8:16 pm
I too, met Ms Siddall in a math class many years ago. I have always told her that she was one of the best teachers I had ever met (if anyone could make me understand math, they MUST be a great teacher!). Since then we have become best friends and I love her like a sister. I want to thank you for letting her know what a precious gift she is, not only as a math teacher but as a friend and hero. I feel very lucky and thankful to have Ms Siddall cross my path during this life and and I am planning on keeping her in my life for a long, long time!!

on Nov. 24 2011 at 5:07 am
Enchantedxo BRONZE, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
3 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish." --John Jakes

I think this is a really sweet piece you wrote. The way you described it made it seem like Ms. Siddall taught you more than just math; she taught you beyond the curriculum. Although she didn't say anything to you personally about hope, she still affected your life in such a positive way. Her story is so sad, and I feel for everyone with cancer. It's just so amazing how much hope she has and how she still gives to others even though she's hurting herself. I really think you should send this to her; it would make her life. She would love to know that someone thinks this highly of her. :) 


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