I believe that teachers should try to instill confidence in their students, and provide support and encouragement. Growing up, I suffered from severe anxiety. When I began school, the extent of my anxiety grew out of control. I was still very young, but I would obsess over the smallest details, over- analyze the simplest things, and was unable to handle any criticism. For being so young, I stressed myself over the most insane things. I recall crying almost every morning at the thought of going to school because I was afraid my teacher would find errors in my homework.
However, when I entered the second grade, I was given a teacher with the name Ms. DeLair. She was an exceptionally tiny woman, four foot eleven to be exact, but possessed an enormous heart. She noticed the nervousness in me and, in a way, took me under her wing. Over the course of my year spent with Ms. Delair, she helped me to develop a confidence in myself that I will forever be grateful for.
It did not take long for Ms. Delair to see how anxious I almost always was. She acknowledged my desire for perfection, and began to focus her attention on me. She found the smallest ways to help me feel more comfortable and relaxed. She often would encourage me, give me compliments, and help me when it was needed. These sound like tasks that every teacher takes on, but Ms. DeLair went about it in an entirely different way. She let me explain my worries, and would always know how to calm me down. Though most of my concerns were completely irrational, she never once laughed or took my thoughts lightly. She genuinely cared about her students, and wanted to help me. She was able to be silly and fun, all the while teaching me in the process. She had a special trick of ridding students of their hiccups where she would take us in front of the class, plug our ears, and make us hold our breath while she sang a song. I was initially horrified to even be in front of the class, but Ms. DeLair changed me. I would often fake hiccups just to get the chance to participate in her hiccup remedy. It was these quirky techniques that helped me gain more confidence.
My anxiety did not completely go away, but it definitely subsided. I give complete credit to Ms. Delair. It may seem unusual that a second grade teacher could leave such an impact, but Ms. DeLair did just that. I recently went back to visit Ms. DeLair. I assumed that she would not remember me, having been almost ten years since she had taught me. Yet, I wanted to let her know she had inspired me to become a teacher. As I entered her classroom, she stopped what she was doing and looked me straight in the eye. She said, “I remember you”, and continued to stare right at me. After a few silent seconds she said, “Victoria- You grew up to be a beautiful young woman”. It was a very powerful moment in my life. Knowing that she remembered me made realize I may have impacted her in the same way that she did me. I left my final meeting with Ms. DeLair with a sense of comfort. Though I was so young, I feel she helped me at a crucial time in my life. I give Ms. DeLair so much credit, and hope she knows the positive influence she has had on me. She’s inspired me to teach, and I want nothing more than to someday affect a child in the way that she has affected me.