When I was young, you would not have thought I was made to achieve. I was a very shy and introverted little girl. I was the one who would hide behind my mom’s legs and would not come out when people addressed me, even if they were nice. I did not want to venture beyond my comfort zone. You would have thought that I would never be able to achieve.
When I was in kindergarten, I remember clinging to my mom – screaming. I did not want to go to this thing called school. I wanted my mom. The teacher had to talk to me kindly and show me love and acceptance before I would be willing to stay. You would have thought that I would never be able to achieve.
When I was in first grade, my ways continued. I was to walk home for lunch. My mom had sent along a small envelope of mints for snack time. When lunch time arrived, I did not want to tell the teacher that I was to go home for lunch. I sat there, hiding the small envelope of mints – eating one at a time. The teacher asked if I had a lunch. I said, “yes.” Then my mom appeared at the door, and I ran to her crying. You would have thought that I would never be able to achieve.
When I was in third grade, the teacher told us we were not to ask to use the restroom during instruction. I had to use the bathroom badly. But I would not tell the teacher. I wet my pants. When my dad picked me up from school, he noticed my situation and asked me about it. All I could do was sob – he picked me up and hugged me. We went home to change my clothes. You would have thought that I would never be able to achieve.
When I was in fourth grade, I remember standing at the classroom door with the teacher admonishing my mom because I had lice. She told my mom that she needed to clean our house… Her tone and words were mean and cut my mom to her heart. I saw tears in my mother’s eyes. I wanted to yell at the teacher for making my mom feel so bad, but I was silent. You would have thought that I would never be able to achieve.
When I was in junior high, I watched as a teacher threw my little brother up against a locker and yelled at him with derogatory comments. My brother was gifted and talented, but he was a rebel and also stood with the underdog. As I watched, I remained silent again. This was the only time my parents came to school to complain. You would have thought that I would never be able to achieve.
In high school, I took a required speech class. I was terrified. Every time I had to give a speech, my heart would pound, my palms and underarms would be filled with sweat, and I would gag repeatedly the morning of the speech. You would have thought I would never achieve.
In college, I studied so hard for a class – but I was not doing well. The final exam came – I had studied and studied, but I had studied the wrong information. I looked at that exam and saw that I knew nothing. I put my name on the test, and walked it up to the professor with no answers and left the room. I was close to nine months pregnant at the time. I needed that class to graduate, and I just failed the final exam. I told my husband what had happened. He was furious with me. He went to the professor and convinced the professor to give me a D so I would pass the class. You would have thought I would never achieve.
Still in my life, I have many failures - and I question whether I will ever succeed. I look back and see that I have become a teacher. I have become an advocate for children. I have spoken at conferences – still don’t like to do that though. I am a life-long learner, reading every day. How do we measure success? I thought I would never achieve. Now I work to try and make children aware that they can achieve no matter what their circumstances.