March 21 – the one student who had the greatest influence

240/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Note: I sought permission before I wrote today’s gratitude post. As a teacher, you make connections. I’ve said that many, many times throughout these posts – it’s a given. Students look up to you and most will let you know in some form or another whether they appreciate what you do or whether you are just going through the motions. I have written a few gratitude posts over the last 8 months about certain students who have impacted me but the greatest one is today’s gratitude post. I am keeping the identity of the gratitudee private to respect her but she knows this is all about her. ? was in one of my classes and I had a field trip organized.   Two weeks before the field trip, ? came to me after class and asked to speak to me in private. The department had a room where the teachers hung out so I took her there. I could tell that she was nervous and had something of importance to say but I had no clue of the significance. She told me that she would not be able to go on the field trip and I didn’t think too much of it and asked for her reasoning (a legitimate teacher thing to do). She told me that the date of the field trip was the date of her abortion. I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to respond. Then ? started to cry. Everything taught to me in teacher college came back at me: you are a male, this is a young female, you are in a private room, there is no other witnesses, walk out, do not respond to her, send her to the counsellors etc etc. However, the human in me couldn’t. Here was a fellow human being in need. I threw out everything I had learned with my brain and went with my heart – I gave her a hug until she stopped crying.   I didn’t question her or her actions – not my place and not the time at all and in fact, requires no questioning. I told her that I would support her and be there for her whatever choice she made. She forever changed me – she was the Wizard to my Tin-Man and gave me the heart that is needed for teaching. I have never forgotten her and am very proud to see her on Facebook as one of my friends living a happy life and I know she made the right decision for her at that time in her life. I was and am still so honoured that you ? trusted me and told me your truth when you didn’t have to – you don’t know how you changed my teaching style forever for the better! Getting a bit emotional here but because of your trust, I am that much of a better teacher. Thank you so very much for giving me a heart rather than just going by the books!

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