Wednesday, May 11, 2016


I looked up the dictionary definition of fearless and it said: without fear, bold or brave.  While I really doubt I am bold or brave or ever without any fear, there was once a me that approached life a little more fearlessly.  Not just the daily, but the making a difference, doing whatever it took in my chosen career path.  As a college student, I spent many evenings tutoring a sweet little Montagnard girl in her less than desirable apartment complex. When I say less than desirable, it reminded me of the commercials about starving children in third world countries.  All of the inhabitants were refugees that were grateful for the roofs over their heads.  The country girl I was just wanted to help people, I didn't really realize how my blonde, freckled self was way on the wrong side of town.  But my fearless self could see a difference in the relationships I forged and the risks paled in comparison.

These experiences made me feel invincible, like some kind of super-student teacher/graduate, so when I looked for my first teaching job, I only applied at high risk, high needs, Title 1 schools.  I had a pretty stellar resume and interviewed pretty well, and I was offered a job at my first interview.  While those three years I spent in third and fourth grade with a large minority population were rewarding, they were exhausting.  Once I got married, I decided I need to play it more safe; my fearless self had been tamed.

I was talking to my mom on the way home from work today.  It's a busy time a year for teachers, an especially busy time for me it seems, but I was chatting away and saw a little friend from my fourth grade class playing with a group of children at an older apartment complex.  This complex was hands down high class living compared to the one I visited the refugees in in college.  However, it was still run down compared to the suburban neighborhood I live in. I told my mom I thought I should turn around and check on this friend.  She nervously told me to be careful and it was like déjà vu from my UNCG days.

I turned into the parking lot, and rolled down my window.  I asked him if his homework was done (it wasn't), he introduced me to his friends and seemed so proud I was there just to see him.  I stayed about 5 minutes tops (because I wouldn't get out--I'm not as fearless as I was in my twenties). Though, it was just a tiny bit of time, it might just be what I need to get this fella to summer, and hopefully make a lasting impression.

Sometimes being a teacher is getting outside your comfort zone.  We ask kids to get out of their comfort zone all the time. And today, while it may seem a little trivial, I did that for my little buddy.  Judging by the smile that spread across his face, I feel like he realized that.  The fact that one of his friends said, "Wow, you're right, she is pretty!" didn't hurt either.  If that's the worst thing he can say about his old teacher, I'm doing okay, even if I'm pretty tough on his peers and him at this time of year.

I was a few minutes later picking up my own babies today {again}; I've been pretty booked solid. But when I loaded up Rea & A, I told my beautiful girls about how I always want them to be careful, but sometimes you have to be a little fearless.  Fearless when it comes to doing what's right to hopefully make a difference. I'm not sure they understood, but I do hope that I will set that example for them no matter what they decide they want to do with their lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment