22 April 2013

One of Those Moments

This hasn't been an easy year--teacher-wise--in my world. And the weather here in Minnesota seems determined to make any possible pain last as long as possible. This past Friday, despite a (depressingly) late-spring snowstorm that closed schools across the state, the Minnesota High School League State Speech Tournament went ahead, sketchy roads and all. I left my house at 5:45am in order to ensure my state participants were at the tournament site in time for rounds, which started at 10:15. As I drove slowly down a back county road with no discernible road markings--they had been completely covered by the fierce blowing snow--I prepared myself for what I knew was going to be a long day.

Thirteen hours later, I sat in a high school auditorium surrounded by 15 amazing team members who had braved the weather and forfeited their snow day to cheer our two state participants on as the MSHSL handed out the last of the day's awards. And standing on the stage, for the first time in school history, was a proud member from my team. Our school, who only five years ago wielded a less-than-mighty team of 10, had now grown to over 40 and produced a state finalist. A girl I had worked with closely for four years--her entire high school career--had her moment in the spotlight, celebrating her 8th place finish. My heart was full to bursting.

No, it hasn't been an easy year. But Friday, as I watched her accept her medal, I was reminded that even in the darkest of times there is light. And I was reminded of the power of being a teacher. I was reminded that as a teacher, even when we know we perhaps haven't done our absolute best, we always have the power for moments such as these.

A girl. A stage. A medal.

We have the opportunity, even in casual circumstances, to change lives. My student will never forget that feeling of standing on stage, forever identified as one of the best speakers in the state. And how lucky I am to have gotten to be a part of it.

And so, good or bad, there is always an opportunity to change the world.

It was a lesson worth remembering. It was a lesson I needed to be taught this year. And I am so thankful to have learned it in that particular moment with that particular student.

A girl. A stage. A medal.

A reminder.