by Ella Miller, grade 11
My whole life, I have struggled with math. The concept of numbers, letters, and all of the above has always been so confusing to me. I was always the girl staying after class and asking for extra help. I felt ashamed and embarrassed, like no teacher would ever understand the struggle of feeling helpless, trapped in the walls of a classroom.
It was like this for years, kindergarten through highschool. Tears would trickle down my face as numbers got mixed up and day by day every ounce of hope I had for myself was gone. Somethings wrong with me, it isn't supposed to be this hard. These thoughts raced through my mind quicker than I could even count to ten.
Years went by and my highschool experience felt nothing short of a struggle. When junior year came around, I expected math class to be the same thing it always has been. The occasional burst of “smartness” but the everyday feeling of dread. Needless to say I was surprised when I walked into math class and was greeted with a kind face and a sweet voice.
She seemed to light up at the sight of every student, “Welcome everyone!”
I could tell she was genuinely happy to see us, eager to teach, and eager to help. Something I had never experienced before.
Months would go by and lesson after lesson I seemed to understand things more than I ever have. This didn't come easy, my hand would be raised almost every minute constantly asking for reassurance and direction. Tests and quizzes were still the worst for me. My eyes would fill up with tears as I saw the material I thought I knew so well, but now seemed like it suddenly vanished from my mind. My voice would tremble as I told her “I don't know how to do any of this.”
I don't know why I felt so comfortable when I walked in that classroom and I don't know if I ever will. Maybe it was because of the way she welcomed me with open arms, maybe it was because I loved her outfits everyday, colorful and bubbly just like her. Maybe it was because the “You can do this!” or
“You'll be okay!” were things I needed to hear so badly.
But above all, I think it was the way she truly cared about me. She wasn't just a teacher, she was a person. A bright, kind, and inspiring woman who has changed my outlook on not only math but myself. Never again will I doubt myself and never again will I let something so little like a math problem determine my worth. I am more than that, but I wouldn't have realized it without her.