Today I went to my high school to pick up something. Matt drove me, while Archer napped in the back seat. He jokingly asked me “do you have butterflies Jess?” and was surprised by my answer….yes. Yes I do.
Just like I did every day going. You never know what kind of things you’re going to encounter in high school, and every morning I’d take the bus, almost fearing walking through the doors. Because either something mortifying was going to happen, or nothing at all would happen. It was difficult to tell what was worse back then: being noticed for something, or being invisible.
After I picked up that something, I decided on a whim of nostalgia to visit the resource teacher. I spent many Math classes battling it out with her. I struggled with math, a lot. Missing as much school as I did due to surgeries, recoveries and bad pain days, I just couldn’t keep up in the subject and my confidence was in tatters thanks to a math teacher in grade ten who told me “no matter what, I’d fail abominably so why should he waste his time trying to teach me”. His words, not mine, said in front of me and the very resource teacher I went to say hi to.
She took me under her wing and stubbornly worked with me on Math, because of her I brought my mark up from a 38% to a 52%. Despite my attempts at shutting down and putting mental blocks up.
So, I went to thank her…for stubbornly keeping faith in me and trying to build up my confidence, for helping me get the resources I needed to catch up and graduate with my class. It was her who pushed for the school to allow me to do a 4 period co-op, the very thing I needed to graduate on time.
At first, she didn’t remember my name. She knew my face but couldn’t draw a name to mind — after all it’s been seven years. Once I told her my (infamous) maiden name, she remembered. We caught up, she inquired about my health and I told her about my boys and my life now.
“So you are happy?” She asked me towards the end of the conversation. My happiness had always been a worry of hers.
“Yes I am,” I told her, answering honestly. She smiled, and our conversation ended. We both had things to do and places to be.
I felt awkward, going back, but I am glad I took the time to thank a teacher that made a positive difference in my life.
I always struggled with talking to her, I thought she was pushy and demanding in high school – but that was just what I needed to get my shit together. I hope I was able to communicate that to her, even though I regressed into the same girl I was seven years ago standing in front of her.