This is what I believe

By: Amanda Conway

It was only my third day back at school after my Grandmothers passing. I was missing her very much. What I think I was missing most at the moment was simply being able to hear the sound of her voice. I was still vulnerable and very sensitive to any emotional harm that came my way. And I learned that day just how much it means when a teacher cares enough to take the time to listen to their students (Dr. Jill Biden).

I was sitting in class as my teacher Mr. Daniels was handing back the test we had to take the day after I returned to school. In my head I was confident I did well, but when I received the test back I was in shock. I failed it. I ran through the test and figured out that I mis read almost of the questions. I did not know how, but I did. I thought back to test day and realized, I was not in the right state of mind to be taking that test. I decided I would talk to him right after class about it. I figured he must understand and let me retake it or somehting. He could not fail me on a test when I knew the information.... Right? Well needless to say I got up to talk to him, and he simply would not listen to me or give me a chance to explain myself. He cut me off and said, "I am sorry. I cannot help you there." I could see by the blank expression on his face that he didn't care, and I felt helpless. I ran out of the classroom furious, and hurt that a teacher could fail me on a test without even giving me a chance to show him that I knew the information.

Twenty minutes later, I get into my next class. It is Creative Dramatics. I had to deliver a lesson to the class. I was fully prepared with everything. The only problem was I was not emotionally prepared, and to be honest I no longer trusted any of my teachers at this moment, because I felt so betrayed. I got up to teach my lesson, not feeling stable or safe, and then seconds later I burst into tears. The teacher Ms. Everright takes me into the hall. She looked genially concerned for me and asks if I would like to share with her what is going on. As she sat and listened, I told her everything about the test I got back that day. There was no need to talk about my Grandma, because she already knew about that. After I was finished she used a soft and understanding voice. She offered suggestions to help fix my situation and offered for me to do my lesson next week. After our chat I immediately felt a load taken off me. I felt supported and understood. Her caring enough to listen to me and hearing me out made all of the difference.

Looking back on this day, I remember how important it was for a teacher to take the time to listen to their students. It helps them to feel well supported and safe in their classroom environment. Hearing my students out, that is my goal as a teacher and to convey the importance of doing this simple task to other teachers as well, so they too can be a helpful and safe person a student can turn to for help. A teacher will never be able to fully understand their student and make their student feel supported and safe if they don't do this simple task for them. Listening, it makes all of the difference for the relationship between the student and the teacher.