Being a teacher is one of the most rewarding, eye opening, exciting, and surprising adventures I have ever been on. I’ve always said that each day is comparable to visiting a foreign city for the first time. You see unusual sights, hear novel expressions, and feel incredibly inspired along the way. You never know what to expect when you walk through the door, which is exhilarating. However, at times, without the correct travel partners, you can encounter uncertain territory, which causes you to question your instincts and become wary of your surroundings. Thankfully, during my past three years I can easily say that I have taken this journey with some of the most caring, dedicated professionals there are.
One friend trusted me enough that when it was time for her niece to be in Kindergarten she chose me to be her teacher. So, this is my opportunity to truly thank Maria for giving me the honor of being Petra’s first teacher and here’s why. Prior to the first day of school, Petra quietly walked into my room one day decked out in pink from head to toe, including a perfectly tied bow which held a braid that appeared to dangle to the floor. She introduced herself and quickly found a puzzle that was sitting on my floor. She asked if she could put it together and she did correctly, not just once, but five times prior to leaving. After that first encounter it was clear that Petra would become one of the most dedicated, persistent, enthusiastic learners I have ever had the pleasure of having in my classroom. Each day she would walk in, neatly put her things away, walk to her desk and start her first task with a huge smile on her face. On top of completing her own work, there was another student who sat next to her who consistently received help from Petra. I could hear her whisper to him at least ten times a day, asking if she could help him. Petra is the type of student who will always continue to do her best, but will care equally about her friends being successful as well. To me, it's latter that makes her so special. She was the first to help a friend in need, the first to support them in fixing a mistake, and the first to cheer for them when they accomplished their goals. Being a loyal friend is one of her greatest qualities. She protects those she loves, at time almost to a fault. One afternoon a friend of hers was playing around during lunch and scratched Petra. When I asked her about the incident, she insisted that she did it herself because she didn’t want her friend to get in trouble. Although, I would never encourage such protection to a point in which it could hurt another, which we discussed, I admired her love for others.
To this day, when I think about Petra, my heart is full of happiness. I miss her helping me in my classroom. I miss her inquisitive questioning. I miss her mispronouncing her name. But most of all, I miss witnessing the love she had for other people each day. That kindness she displayed is one that has been a consistent theme throughout each of these spotlights because children do not innately hate, it is learned. So, let’s do our best to continue to encourage the Petra’s of the world and one day we may see a change.