Teachers Matter. This hashtag used by the Global Skills Education Forum, GESF earlier this year and now the catch phrase is more than a hashtag or catch phrase to me. Teachers Matter to me because had it not been for teachers, education, one of two things that transformed my life, would have definitely eluded me.
As a maladjusted child, I struggled in school despite possessing great academic prowess throughout my academic life. Nothing could fill the void left inside by my mother who decided that I should not have been born. As a high-spirited child, I carried on with life, albeit fighting beasts such as feelings of insignificance, emotional imbalances, self-doubt and fear, inability to trust and inappropriate advances made by close relatives. Who could I share these horrors with? I was brought up in a household in which I was to be seen and not heard and so I tried hard enough to live by such rule. Well, every full cup must run over. Sadly, most of my spills occurred at school. To some teachers I was the girl with the attitude that wouldn’t get very far in life.
Truth be told, I was blessed with some of the best teachers and lecturers throughout my primary, high school and even college years. And maybe some of the teachers were made the above-mentioned judgment had valid points – I had issues. These issues had they been left untended would most likely result in the destruction of me. Even though most of my outstanding teachers and lecturers inspired me in various ways, whenever I think of a life-changing teacher this one teacher, Mrs. Donna Thompson comes to the forefront of my mind. Mrs. Thompson, or Ms. T as I affectionately refer to her, bore the name ‘Bad-pickney Defender’ in her selfless pursuit to reach students like me who lacked one thing or another but were continuously brushed aside and sometimes even pushed into greater lack by people who should have been fully invested in our well-being.
During my mid-teen years life got even more horrendous at home and life at school was not better in my eyes. When most persons turned a blind eye to my situation, Mrs. Thompson reached out to me and never stopped showing she cares. She provided me with emotional support, built my self-esteem, showed me how brilliant I was – validation I never got from my family, took care of my physical needs and provided a place of refuge – just somewhere I could go to clear my head. When I walked away from high school because of the surmounting stress, she formed a team which included the school counsellor, and called an intervention. This team ensured that I sat my exit exams instead of wasting time and money. Because of Ms. T’s actions, I could have matriculated to just about any university if I could afford to. She never gave up on me, always supported me and is very much still a part of my life. Mrs. Thompson is the difference between teachers who know their content but do not know their students and teachers who know their content and know their students because they care about the people they teach.
Today, I am a heart-centered educator who is passionate about knowing my students and teaching beyond written standards and assessments. Connecting with students, making a real difference and impact in their lives and giving back, and being empathetic in my classroom and society at large are things I value above all. To leave as powerful a legacy as Mrs. Thompson, I teach my students to do the same as the mark she left on me is an indelible one.
Sania S. Green-Reynolds is an overcomer, and award-winning international educator who is passionate about personal and professional growth and cultivating the richest, most diverse learning experiences for learners. She is the founder and director of Lit Publishing Ltd., a mom, wife, visionary, teacher-leader and trainer, and resourceful friend and colleague. Apart from being an extroverted-introvert who likes a light yet empowering conversation, she likes meeting new people, spending time with family and friends and exploring new content and business ideas. Sania has authored and co-authored Amazon Best-selling books, transformed her clients’ lives through coaching and the re-channeling of creative energies, and inspired change among people across the globe. In 2018 she was selected as a KDSL Global Fellow.
Connect with her on LinkedIn – @Sania Green-Reynolds or on Twitter @SaniaEmpowers