I'm an enthusiastic introvert. You may know the type. The more nervous I get, the more I seem to talk. This tends to go against all of the presuppositions of an introvert, but, rest assured, I am shaking inside when I meet someone new. A lot of it hinges on the feelings I project on how said person will perceive me. But mostly it's just cos I want to be liked.
The best of being liked is when someone is nice behind your back. Sneaking around. Being all nice-like and compliment-y. In my book that's the nicest kind of nice a person can be.
Would't you agree?
|My lighting rod.|
My brain bolts around a lot from project to project and I don't often ground myself to notice the impact my work has on others around me. I'm particularly bad at considering what sort of impression I may have made on a student over the 5 or 6 years I taught him/her in Library Media. That's when a lighting rod comes in handy. Something to bring me back down to noticing what matters instead of worrying what's to come.
I received the following lightning rod in the form of a letter from a graduating 5th grader who worked in our library as a Media Helper over the past two years. She used me as the subject of her "Describe someone special" Carson Scholars essay. To say she has a special place in my heart doesn't even begin to encompass how much this kid means to me. Reading as she articulated what I mean to her brought me to tears. It's one of the best gifts a person can receive...
Knowing that you're something to someone.
This is her essay:
If reading was considered a hobby, it would undoubtedly be mine. Mr. Winner (my media teacher) has made reading more than just a hobby for me. He has shown me that reading is not something you do in your spare time, it's a thing you make special time for. Nowadays, reading is like my portal to the author’s world. I see into the characters' thoughts and feelings, emotionally connecting to them. He showed me that there are different genres and types of books, that I don't just have to reread the Harry Potters for the four millionth time. I now read history, nonfiction, myths and folktales. I enjoy learning about Abraham Lincoln, corpse flowers, and how Persephone became part-time queen of the Underworld.
In my opinion, I don't think you can truly call your class fun until you've had Mr. Winner for a teacher. He's not a teacher that gives a worksheet and leaves (personally I don't know a teacher like that but I know they exist). He makes everything fun and entertaining and I don't just mean lessons; even his conversations are interesting. When he's reading aloud, it's impossible not to stand and listen. I learned how to read with immense emotion, and I think that's a very important skill. That’s how you truly express yourself and captivate the listener. (that's also how you persuade people, though it takes more than just emotion to do that).
Mr. Winner goes above and beyond to teach us in a fun way. We play “Wii” in class and find averages, fractions and percentages of our scores. He holds “Book Birds”, an event that encourages us to read. He showed me that commitment and caring are not just about skimming the surface but getting into everything with body, mind, and soul. I now do all I can to reach my goals while helping others. I volunteer to read at a preschool and write stories encouraging them to read. I also work harder on my grades, music and art.
I've been a media helper for almost two years now. I became one because Mr. Winner is a lot of fun and I love media as a subject. I also wanted my help to be a thank you for his help. Being responsible as a media helper has helped me better deal with my 3-year old brother.
I look forward to the end of every school day, not because school is over, but because then, I get to be a media helper. We turn off computers, water plants, and shelve books according to the famous order of Mr. Melvil Dewey (a.k.a. the Dewey Decimal system). My favorite job as a media helper is sharpening pencils. It may sound odd, but the sharpener's smooth noise puts a perfect end to every day.
I think Mr. Winner truly lives up to his name. He's funny, he's a good person, and he cares about his students. And that's who a winner is.