Dear teachers of all kinds,
First of all, my name is Kimmie. I’m a college student. I was home schooled for a good amount of my life, been to home school programs, so maybe I have no right to ask this of you. However, I am a student, there’s no denying it. I want to tell you something…
When I was in high school, there was something wrong with me.
I had some kind of OCD. Just doing a simple math problem took forever because I felt I had to perfect it, I over thought things, I got distracted. My teacher allowed me to do less problems, but it didn’t help. I was distracted, I was a perfectionist, I was in need of help. It was like that in many subjects. I couldn’t concentrate or I would concentrate too hard. It’s hard to explain exactly what was wrong with me, but it wasn’t making my time at school any easier. Every week, on the days I had school, my mom would drive me to school. I’d feel inordinate dread, tired, suicidal once even… all because of the stress of homework, the lack of sleep I hadn’t thought was important, and the problem I was dealing with.
It wasn’t the teachers’ fault. It was entirely my own. It was my sick mind that didn’t understand how to care for myself or how to fix my brain out of its OCD tendencies. Several assignments were missing each week, piling up on my plate with each passing month. There was a time, when a teacher scolded me for not getting my work done. It wasn’t too harsh, and it was just a sentence of disapointment, but it was the bullet in my cracked armor. My walls shattered all around me, my eyes were burning with the tears I strangled back. That was when she showed up.
My English teacher, who shared a similar name, Mrs. Kim. She was a fast-talking teacher with bundles of energy, who everyone adored. She wasn’t yet my favorite teacher, but after this, she would be even more than a teacher to me.
She caught me, with watering eyes, after the teacher had made that comment. She could tell I was hurting, could tell that I needed someone to take me aside and help me. So she did. She gave me a lollipop, and we made a plan together to help me concentrate on my work and see how it would go. Out of all the teachers in the school, she was the one who took notice and acted not in the way she figured was best but in the way she thought was best for me. She supported me, she loved me, she listened to what I needed as a student and as a person. I felt like someone finally was reaching out to me in a way that I could understand and she gave me solutions that could help me. Real solutions I could try and see if they worked. I now had someone who was there for me, who understood me, and that meant more than I can express in words.
I felt like Harry Potter, when he finally found out he had a Godfather, someone he could talk to and depend on. Someone who would listen to him.
So, I want to say to all the teachers out there: Listen to your students. If they’re hurting they won’t speak up about it, so you have to be the ones to notice and to hear them when they do talk. For all those who think that teachers should just talk, I say to them this… how can you speak, without first being able to hear? If you want to reach your students’ hearts, and get through to them, then listen! Listen to their needs, listen to their story before making assumptions, listen to the screaming voice inside them begging for help in what they most struggle with. Listen.
My ears are yours,