A teacher showed me who I could be before I could even bare to look at myself in the mirror and if it wasn’t for her, I don’t believe I would be here today.
When I was in middle school and high school I really struggled with mental health problems. The diagnoses I have aren’t commonly given under 18 years old, so I struggled a lot with the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar 2, General Anxiety and panic disorder. I also struggled with not understanding why I was struggling so much. No simple diagnosis a doctor who saw me for five minutes could really fit who I was, what I was feeling.
My teachers at school became a lifeline for me. They knew without a doubt I was a bright student. It was things at home and in my personal life that was the problem. My Literature teacher and English teacher in middle school where the first teachers to connect and help me. I was a talented writer and I loved reading and poetry. They could feel the pain I was handling in my classwork and both took the time to sit down with me almost every single day to help me work through what was happening. Those teachers are almost single handedly the reason I stopped self-harming.
After going to high school the suffering just got worse. As I aged my symptoms just got worse. There was a boy who picked on me every single beginner’s band class and one day, I punched him in the face, right in front of a teacher and on a surveillance camera. I was sent to the principal’s office who directed me to the vice principal and that woman was a gift from god. She believed me immediately that everything built up and she had to follow protocol and suspend me for 2 weeks, but she spoke to me every single day after that. We talked about how my father was sick and how he could die, but I was 17 hours away. We talked about my search for a diagnosis. We talked about my current home life which was terrible. She gave me ideas of online school since going into school was giving me anxiety attacks at least once a day. She got me through sophomore year alive and I can’t thank her enough.
After that year, I finished Junior and Senior year online, in 9 months. I raised my 1.6 GPA to a 2.9 in those 9 months and without those three teachers I don’t believe I would have graduated at all. I took two years off after to work, but I ended up having to spend a year and a half unemployed and working strictly on my mental health treatment and now in the fall of 2020 I can finally start college.
I am going to college to become a high school teacher because of Mrs. G, Mrs. VDP, and Mrs. Tuner who showed me I was more than what I saw. I am going to college to become a high school teacher because every single day more kids are struggling because of what’s happening at home or in their mental health and it’s getting passed off as “lazy” when I know that those students are trying their hardest, but they need more help. Every single student regardless of economic background, race, sexual orientation, gender, body type, religion, or mental / physical health should have the same opportunities in school and if some students need a little more attention to be able to achieve all the opportunities they can, then I want to be able to give them that. It is a miracle I am alive. It is a miracle I graduated and my passion now is to show students who don’t look at themselves and see a miracle that their possibilities are endless and nobody can hold them back.
The students we are letting slip through the cracks are our future leaders, influencers, and population. Every single one of them is important and NO student should feel like they don’t have a trusted adult in their corner.