“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
― Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
T w e n t y One Years ago I got in a car and was never the same. I got in the car to go high school.
Trauma Doesn’t Just Go Away
Some say this is a story I should stop telling or this isn’t the place to tell it. Well, I disagree. This story is the reason I became an educator. Through this story, my life was changed. It will always be apart of me. Furthermore, this story helps me connect with students who have traumatic experiences in their lives.
Trauma isn’t something we should run away from. Everyone handles trauma differently and teachers play more of a role than they might realize. I’m going to share more of this story than I ever have.
The date was August 27, 1999. The story is simple: we were driving to school, we hit another vehicle head on. The driver, Jimmy, died instantly. I was trapped in the car with someone behind me. My father and step mother were one of the first in scene. That’s the quick version of this story.
Teachers Impact On Students
The story doesn’t end there. You see, once I went back to school after surgeries and hospital visits, my life was never ever the same. As far as school went, I was always a good student. After the car accident, I really seemed to struggle in math. One teacher, Ms. Kristi Stacey, treated me in a way that was different. She didn’t walk on eggshells or treat me different than any other student. During this time, that was imperative to me. Even though I struggled, she still held me to high expectations. She celebrated my successes and helped guide me through my failures. Ms. Stacey really inspired me to do better and to not allow this event to impact my education.
The next year or two in school was difficult for me. I was struggling with what had happened to all of us. Even though I was struggling, I was motivated by my teachers to never give up. My English teacher was Mr. Mooneyham. At first, I remember thinking I was excited about his class because it was in a portable. I’m not exactly sure how that was “cool” to me. This is the class that now I look back on and feel so sorry for. Our class was really hard on him. We talked, laughed and cut up. Mr. Mooneyham didn’t allow me to fall into that. Once again, he held me to a high standard.
In fact, every year that I get a difficult class, I think back to high school English. I always kind of chuckle and think “real funny God.” Mr. Mooneyham taught despite the classic bad behavior that was shown. He demonstrated perseverance for sure.
One More Important Teacher
My last one, and probably one of the three that really has no idea the impact they made on me. Mr. Larry Simon was my high school political science teacher. I was in his class on September 11,2001. He was older and by my first impression would not have been one of the teachers that guided me. He was probably the hardest of the three teachers but I needed that. Throughout this time, I watched Mr. Simon’s reaction to 9/11. Like many if you that is something I’ll never, ever forget. Mr. Simon never let me get away with anything. At the time, I resented him for that. He would give us long, detailed assignments that I use to think that they are so pointless. Now, I’m able to see the value and how meaningful they were. I’m also able to recognize that he remained neutral while teaching a very difficult subject to not allow your own biases in.
I’m thankful I have spent my career in elementary, because I don’t know that I’d do as good of a job teaching something like political science and staying neutral 😆😆😆. Mr. Simon was also my teacher the year that my father was diagnosed with cancer. He still kept pushing me (even though I’m pretty sure I was vocal that I didn’t like it) to do the best I can. I still feel like each year I have a student in my class that was just like I was in THAT class.
Teachers That Make A Difference
All three of these individuals and so many others prior to high school showed me the beauty in education. They taught me how when life gets tough, perseverance is what will get you through it. I’m not sure I’ll ever have the chance to see these three educators and tell them just how thankful I am for their dedication to their students. They impacted my life more than I could have ever predicted. I’m almost 36 years old and I remember these three so vividly. I often think about if I had just had educators that didn’t keep pushing me, I might have not ever went to college.
In summary, time does heal the wounds. The healing process just looks difference for everyone. My healing process is using this experience to show that even when things get down right unbearable, there is a student watching. We all know that our students have so many experiences and roadblocks. Let’s encourage them while also ensuring that they are meeting high standards.
I’m going to go about my day and jam out to all things 1999 to remember a time that was difficult but molded me into the person I am today!