There are SO many people in my life for whom I am thankful--that's right, 'people,' not things. Naturally, I am endlessly thankful for my parents, my husband, my children, and every one in my extended family. Also, I'm exceedingly thankful for my friends and my church family. However, a recent turn of tragic events has given me cause to reflect on a group of people who have come and gone in my life, but have forever had an impact on my personal character, my work ethic, and my belief in the power of knowledge: the over 1000 students whom I've taught over a period of 14 years.
(Because privacy laws regarding posting students' pictures/info online prevents me, I won't post photos, but I'll bet you can visualize someone in your life who's been inspirational to you in ways these kids have been to me.)
To my classes of:
1993-1994: Thank you for letting me cut my student-teacher teeth on you. You're the ones who gave me permission, and the freedom, to laugh as much as possible. It's because of you that my job would never become "work."
1994-1995: Thank you for your patience...you are the reason my OCD didn't get the best of me OR any of my subsequent students! Run with those "teachable moments" and don't worry about what the lesson plan book says.
1995-1997: It was a privilege and a joy to teach every one of you 3rd & 4th graders! You taught me the importance of really knowing each of my student's names--after all, there were over 700 of you! "Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language." Dale Carnegie
1997-2000: Thank you all for trusting me with needs to which you didn't always want to admit. You taught me to address my own needs and seek those who would willingly and firmly support me.
2000-2001: Change. Each of you helped me through very major changes in my job and my family life (my son was born two months prior to this school year). Because of your steady and diligent natures, I successfully weathered one of my most feared issues in life--change.
2001-2004: We experienced the tragedy of 9-11-01. We had fun together! We "made our own way" of learning. For a little while, it was all about us...and you reminded me how cool it is to live inside my own knowledge but want to learn even more!
2004-2006: You are the people who drove home my understanding that kids are people. While that may seem an asinine understanding, the depth of respect that reciprocates from this creates a student/teacher relationship that is immeasurable. You made it possible for me to see the adults that you could be, that I wanted to help you be, and the talents you possessed to make it all possible. Thank you.
2006-2008: You are my final hour. In all of our conversations about "what you want to be when you grow up," at some point, you convinced me that I could reach for and attain my newest educational and career desires! Boy, you're good! You fanned a flame of ambition that I didn't realize was already lit and you told me that I have what it takes to achieve. In doing so, you restored my self-confidence. Thanks for seeing in me and showing me what I had forgotten of myself. Who knew you were so schooled in psychology!?! Thank you.
Since, as your teacher, it was MY job to inspire you, I hope that I provided you with a fraction of support and encouragement that you gave me. I won't ever be able to repay you for your generosity, but I will honor each of you daily by living in such a manner that reflects each lesson I learned from you. I will, as they say, "pay it forward."
I love each of you and thank God for the lessons and time we shared.
Mrs. Knight (because to you I am not PrissE, but will always be Mrs. Knight)