An Ordinarily Extraordinary Hero

I wrote this short essay as a dedication to one of the most inspirational people in my life. I am glad to be able to share it, and her, with you. I hope you enjoy reading!

A young girl stands in the crowd with students her same age. She tries to act just like they do, speak the same way they do, and think the same way they do. But, no matter how hard she tries, she always stands just a little bit straighter, talks a little bit louder, and thinks just a little bit faster. Yet, she’s the most ignored one of them all. Because she’s different. Then, one teacher comes along, and sees that girl, standing just a little taller than the rest. She takes that girl under her wing, gives her knowledge and teaches her how to think like herself, not like others. After two years, that girl stands out, above and beyond, because that teacher taught her that being herself was better than being like everybody else. And now, her academic accomplishments led her to be in one of the best schools in the country. 

Every day I walk into school, I think of that teacher. She was my English and History teacher, attentively tutored me, and is still one of my biggest inspirations to be successful and accomplish even greater achievements in the future. 

Marriam-webster defines optimism as, “an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events.” Or, to put it simply, “try to do the best you can, to get the most out of what you have.” Truthfully, even though I have been given many gifts in my life, nothing would have come from them if it weren’t for that teacher, Ms. M. Ms. M taught me more than just the story of Beowulf or the history of the United States. She taught me objective thinking. She taught me how to get the most out of my mind, how to analyze everything to its fullest and get the best possible result. 

If she were any other regular, run-of-the-mill teacher, I would have been glossed over, since I was already passing and academically comfortable. Not her. Instead of seeing what I already had, she saw what I could be, and made it one of her missions to accomplish that future with me. 

More than just being a teacher, Ms. M has become a friend and a constant motivator. When I started my blog, she was my editor and one of my biggest supporters and encouraged me to keep going. She was the one who convinced me that sharing my opinions wasn’t scary, and, to be honest, was happier for me than I was for myself. 

Because of Ms. M, I have become much more confident in myself and my abilities. In school, I have had people challenge my beliefs, try to have me abandon them, but, because Ms. M taught me to follow objective truth, I was strong enough that others could not sway me. Even just writing about her makes me feel incredibly lucky to have been taught by her. Now that I am in another school,  she has moved on to teaching others she sees potential in, and putting a confident smile on their face, too. 

In my everyday life, not just in school, I try to mimic her glowing personality wherever I can. As an introvert, who is an anxious overthinker, it has been a huge challenge. While I am not sure if I can ever be as bubbly and outgoing as her, I now find myself doing little acts that remind me of Ms. M. During lunch, I try to focus on my friends more than myself. When I’m tired, I put on a smile and am friendly in the halls. Most importantly, I look to the future at what I will do, not at what I have already done. I am a happier, more optimistic person because of her, and forever grateful for it. I am proud that I am spreading just a little bit of “Ms. M charm” to others. 

The little girl that one special teacher picked out is now a teenager. She not only stands taller than those around her, she speaks to them and tries to make them just as tall. All the while, that teacher mouths out words for her to say from the sidelines, hoping that she will see and understand. The two don’t talk as much anymore. Their distance from one another went from 12 to 500 miles, yet the lessons taught and learned will always be in that girl’s mind. The girl moves further and further away, she has new responsibilities and new lessons to learn. And, just as that teacher thinks she has been forgotten, that girl looks over and mouths back, “Thank you.”

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