It's always been an educator.
Reading, writing, and social studies teacher.
Taught me to love history,
To fight to keep the arts in school,
Endlessly pushed me out of my comfort zone.
Still cares about me and tries to come to my performances,
Promises I can come to him if I ever need anything.
Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade,
Always had a warm smile,
Helped me to trust her enough to tell her when a friend needed help,
Remembers my name still to this day and lights up when she sees me.
Encouraged my love of reading by always discussing what I was reading with me,
High compliments on my writing but always gave constructive criticism to make it better,
Keeps tabs on how I'm doing and is always delighted when I visit.
Seventh, eighth, and ninth grade,
Kindest soul I've ever met,
Always pushing me to do my best,
Encouraged me to pursue singing more seriously.
Pushed me to read even more than I already was and to challenge myself while doing so,
Was always willing to chat books,
Has the kindest smile,
Always gives me a hug when I visit.
Taught me that history is fascinating and fun not just interesting,
Taught me to fight for what I believe in.
Eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth grade,
Never lets me talk badly about myself,
Is always encouraging,
Never endingly reminds me how far I've come,
Always pushes me to do better.
Helped me to realize it's ok to admit you need help,
Gave me extra time to take care of my mental health,
Teased but always made it clear I could trust him.
Always asks me about my photography,
Smiles at me conspiratorially as a fellow photographer and jokingly salutes me when I pass in the hallway,
Always makes me laugh.
Serious in class but so kind-hearted,
Easy to talk to,
One I trusted for advice when I was lost for what to do.
Allowed me to be sassy without repercussions which helped me to come out of my shell,
Built a sense of community in our class that made it sad to leave it.
Made me feel like my art was worth something for the first time,
Gave me the space and time I needed to make me happier with my art.
Taught me what it meant to truly be strong for love,
Created a space of acceptance,
Increased my love for poetry and introduced me to slam poetry.
Tenth grade, eleventh grade,
First person in my life that I can recall that simply listened to me with her full attention on me,
Always pushes me to do better as musician,
Is unfailingly honest with me about how I can be a better person and if something isn't going to be right for me,
Is always willing to give a hug or go out for coffee if I need advice or someone to listen to.
Unfailingly patient despite the fact I was clearly understanding nothing,
Always willing to spend extra time with me to help,
His warm smile and joking nature made him easy to approach,
Recognized dropping out of his class was the best choice for my mental health,
Always waves at me when he's outside as I walk by his house.
Answered my ten million questions when planning the walkout,
Always up for a solid political discussion in which he makes me broaden my world view,
Helped calm me down when I was overstressing about it.
Acknowledges me as a leader,
Takes me seriously,
Is grateful for my help,
Is patiently obstinate when I make self deprecating comments,
Does what he can to help me not stress,
Remembers the little things I mention.
Twelfth grade is just beginning,
And more will soon come,
But do you see my point?
Educators have shaped me,
Been my mentors.
Yet out of all the people in society who shape it,
They are treated the worst.
I won't stand for this,
Not when all they've shown me is love,
It's time for a little love in response.