When my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Atherton, noticed that I liked to draw, color and construct things from other materials and she also noticed that I fidgeted in my seat and was easily distracted by others, she suggested that doodle in the margins of my paper while we reviewed material and that I write a story and illustrate it. I never would have imagined that I would have been chosen to take part in an all-day Young Writer’s Conference.
It was the year that my parents separated and we moved to another district, so I’m sure that the anxiety of being in a new place was prevalent in my character at that point in time, so for her to suggest such a thing was to take my mind off of the dilemma that I was facing emotionally and to place my focus on something I enjoyed and understood.
A couple of years ago, when I was an art teacher, and last spring, when I wasn’t, I was invited to be a workshop presenter at the Young Writer’s Conference and was able to share my story and also share some combination of writing and art with students. The fact that my life came full circle proved to me that Mrs. Atherton really knew what she was doing to impact my life. She used my talented abilities, of drawing, instead of looking at my disabilities, of distractibility, that led to the semi-focused, self-motivated and high achieving individual that I am today. She knew very little of me, but was observant of my personality and behavior enough to give me information to use for the rest of my life, to modify my own behavior.
In the future, and in the past (as I have stated previously), my hope would be that I would remain the observant and empathetic teacher that I am, noticing the good things instead of the sometimes negative behaviors that students possess, expounding upon the positives and helping them grow and fulfill their life to the fullest potential possible, to think outside the box of a normal classroom and to explore new and unimaginable ideas. But, I won’t know the outcome until they come back and let me know what a difference it made.