We all remember the horrible days of middle school, right? Or at least, I hear from friends all the time how much they hated them and how hard they are for their children, too.
Silly me, I transferred schools (voluntarily, ironically enough) at the beginning of 8th grade. I couldn’t imagine taking the “computer” class the old school was offering, nor Spanish from the non-Spanish speaking teacher. I convinced my mom, and we registered for the local public school where I knew essentially no one.
I went from a small Catholic school with around 40 kids in my class to a several hundred student school with sometimes 40 students in a classroom. It was a big change – both socially and academically. Socially, I was lucky that I walked up to a table at lunch my first day and made friends with the people sitting there, some of whom I’m still in contact with today.
Academically was more of a challenge. We hadn’t had any gifted classes at my old school. I literally was handed an algebra book in 7th grade and told to let the teacher know when I wanted to be tested (thank you, Mrs. Robinson). For reading, Kari and I were sent into the coat closet to work on our more advanced books on our own. I’m not joking. And looking back, I’m not sure how or why my mom thought this was ok. I may have to ask her.
I was overwhelmed with the academic side of things, not knowing how to participate in these classes or whether I really fit in. Mrs. Vickery was my lifeline. She was my English teacher that year and my newspaper adviser. She. Was. Awesome.
She made me believe in myself again. I was capable of doing the work, but she made me love it. Beyond that, she took the time to find out what I loved and encouraged me with it. She was the one who suggested I join the newspaper and who pushed me to keep at it in high school – something I am ever grateful she did. And she was the one who encouraged me to join the Knowledge Masters team, to look into Odyssey of the Mind, to compete in the Battle of the Brains (we lost badly, but it was FUN!). She was the one who forced me to apply for the AP history program when I went to high school, something I was scared to do for fear of rejection.
She isn’t teaching there any longer, as she was a veteran teacher when I was in junior high, but I still think of her fondly. I love that she helped me, and I know I wasn’t the only one. I just hope and pray the wee ones have teacher experiences like that with the same type of help and encouragement I received.
Who was your support and motivation?
I am writing this post in support of the Clever Girls Collective’s Heart of Haiti Mother’s Day post series about a woman who helped me. Heart of Haiti is an initiative that uses business as a strategy for economic empowerment of people, especially women. Through a partnership with Macy’s and their Shop For A Better World’ initiative, Heart of Haiti offers artisan-crafted decorative arts and jewelry for sale. All income derived from sales of the products on the Heart of Haiti site enhances an artisan’s family’s nutrition, educates children, and brings access to healthcare and dignity.
If you wish to support them, you can receive a 15% discount off Heart of Haiti and Rwanda Path to Peace products from May 3 to 8 with the promo code CLEVERGIRLS. They’ve got some really gorgeous pieces, and I love the meaning behind them!
I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own. I will receive a Heart of Haiti necklace in thanks for my participation, but there is no compensation involved.