Sometimes hope is the only thing you have, and sometimes even holding onto hope seems impossible. I try to hold onto hope for my students. There are those who are so combative that even asking for their work elicits an angry response, those who just sit and don’t seem to care, those who never do anything productive but put a lot of energy into pretending they are, and those who have home lives that no one can imagine or would wish upon any kid. I want them to succeed. I want them to love learning. I want them to have dreams and goals bigger than they think they can. I want them to believe in themselves and in others.
When I think about the impact of a particular life, several come to mind, but not because of a world-wide impact, but because of their impact on my life and the way I was changed because of them, and the hope they instilled in me. Two particular teachers, Mr. Kolterman and Mr. Kelpe, made a great impact on my life. They taught me about acceptance, about caring to be my absolute best, and about what it means to be a great teacher who cares deeply for students. They taught me how to work hard for something you want, to have goals and to reach them. They taught me to be the person I am meant to be.
I hope to be remembered as someone who cared deeply for others, as someone whose strong faith in God shone through, as someone filled with joy for the many blessings she had in her life, as someone who loved her children with all her heart and supported and encouraged them to be their best selves and to give back, as someone who loved her partner in life with devotion and a generous spirit-encouraging them to be their best self, and as someone who put others before self and treated everyone with love, respect, and caring, and as someone who found incredible joy and peace in a simple country life.
“Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” (Oscar Schindler) Can one person make a difference? I say a resounding yes!