March 16 – in my corner

235/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Have you ever had a person go to bat for you over something that didn’t involve them but they just had to do the right thing? Today’s gratitude post wasn’t even in my mind until I got together with a friend from years ago for lunch this afternoon. Alan was someone I met through a friend at a house party decades ago but upon that first meeting, my affinity towards him grew immensely. I was just coming off an emotional week of teaching and Friday night was my time to vent. I’m at a party and I share a highlight of the week which got another person at the gathering all riled up. I was planning a field trip and a female student came up to speak to me in private and share that she would not be going as she was pregnant and that was the scheduled date for her abortion. I, putting everything I had learned in teacher’s college aside, gave her a hug and thanked her for telling me this and told her that I would be there and support her in whatever decision she made. I was honoured that she had told me something of such a personal nature but I also wanted to support her in the best way possible. As I shared this at the party (no names mentioned of course), another teacher who shall also remain nameless went up one side of me and down the other. She criticized me in that I should have told the student to keep her child and that I was horribly wrong to just support her in her decision. In that moment and also being only a few years into my career, I immediately started second guessing myself until Alan, out of the blue, just stepped in. He took her to task for taking her conservative beliefs and putting them on a student who had made a life-decision that suited her in that moment. The conversation got heated quickly and I tried to interject but here was this guy who eloquently shut this other person down by basically telling her that her teaching philosophy, ideologies and beliefs which impacted many of her students (negatively) allowed for no choice for her students except for what her religious values prescribed. I couldn’t have said it better and I didn’t as I was second-guessing my advice until Alan validated for me that I had made the right choice. I have shared this story on a few occasions but I have to give Alan a shout-out tonight as he made me realize that my gut instinct is the right one when it comes to teaching and advising students when they come to me looking for advice. Thanks bud! So glad we reconnected!

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