Guest column: Thank you to my students

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 10, 2018

By Angelia Fleming

As I reflect on this school year, a constant and strong beat drums in my heart and mind. I want to say thank you to my students.

As everyone knows, negativity about our youth today abounds in the news and in conversations — but this is so untrue. I have proof. I invite you to meet my students.

They give me hope in our present and in our future with each and every day. Their kindness and empathy are like shining beacons that spread their light everywhere. Their problem-solving and creativity never cease to amaze me.

And I get to work with these students every day.

Now, I have to admit that I am not happy to hear my alarm shrill at 5 a.m. each morning. However, once that first jolt of caffeine clears the cobwebs from my brain, I get excited about the day’s adventures with my kids — because that is what my students generate: a passion for the promise of a new day.

We have so much fun creating and extending our activities. They are gifted with the ability to take the most basic assignment — whether it’s reading a play, interpreting poetry or analyzing informational articles — and turning it into an explosion of ideas and avenues for exploration that make me hate to see our class end.

You want more proof, you say? Well, here are some examples:

When my students were feeling overcome with the negativity in today’s society, both near and far, they started a kindness challenge.  It spread, slowly at first, but then sped up with great momentum. As I see my students mentor and help younger students from the elementary school, as I see them smile and pass out positive notes, as I see them care for each other, I see the hope and empathy that is in all of us. It just takes a simple spark, or one sticky note, to cause a wave of kindness.

My heart was deeply touched as I went through what seemed like an endless skin cancer journey. I had to go through three Mohs procedures on my face in a several-month period. I still remember when I told my students beforehand. I wanted them to be prepared, and I believe in being honest with my kids. They were so supportive with prayers, hugs, flowers and cards. They were there for me each time when I came back, not looking too good. They kept me going. These students helped me through an extremely rough time with their caring.

I could go on and on describing individual and group examples of why my students are my heroes. We are family. We have this amazing bond of acceptance and appreciation for each other’s uniqueness.

I believe in my students, in their goodness, in their endless positive possibilities. They are our future leaders that can take us on incredible journeys onto paths not even yet imagined. My kids inspire me to come to school each and every day; they make me excited to come to work and see what adventures we will discover together.

And so I say thank you to my students.

Angelia Fleming is a teacher at North Rowan Middle School.