The most influential adults in my life were not people I saw on TV, but the teachers I had growing up. These teachers' acts of kindness and attention to me as a student was the most valuable thing public education could have given me. Teachers and people who work at schools do so much for their students that go unnoticed, but not forgotten by those students.
I recall that the most caring teachers I ever had were during my elementary years. I will never forget my fourth teacher named Mrs. Kapaku who was supportive and kind with her students. She made me feel special and this was very important growing up when sometimes students lack self-esteem. A student may feel like they don't' fit in, but when a teacher sets an environment where students feel safe is priceless.
One thing she would do was leave me sticky notes of encouragement on my desk while I read. These small gestures, I will never forget. It motivated me to keep being a great student. I will never forget her acts of kindness with me and my class.
What distinguishes these teachers from others, is that they take the time to listen to their students. I remember listening to many teachers go off the lessons to talk to us about life. Sometimes this is all the attention a child gets growing up. I really enjoyed off topic conversations with my teachers. Teachers who told us their wacky stories were the most memorable to me. We listened to them, as they would listen to us. They gave us much more attention than we realized at the time.
The best thing a teacher or mentor did for me was to inspire me and encourage my dreams. I had a great mentor in high school named Carolina, who was a mom to us in the summer program. She motivated me to go to college and never give up. There were so many others influential adults in my education that I was fortunate to meet.
This is the best gift a teacher can give to any students. They have the ability to inspire young minds. They hold immense influence on students.
Teachers help us grow. They are the people that see us on a daily and who can have high impacts in our life. They spend money in their classrooms more than they should. They take on many roles as counselors, parents, nurses, activists and so much more.
Thank you to the most influential teachers I had growing up because today I have come a long way in my education and have become a teacher as well. All their support off paid off. I have learned to be kind to my students and know that everything we do and say has a great influence that has a ripple effect that goes beyond the classroom.