Whenever the topic of people experiencing their first, Black teacher comes up I’m always shocked by the responses. Some people I know have gone all the way to college without having a Black educator. However, I was one of the lucky ones. And by that I mean I was one of the lucky kids who had the opportunity and privilege to be taught by a Black educator early on. I had my first Black teacher in first grade. Her name was Mrs. Burris. I don’t remember much about my younger years unfortunately, but I can tell you that she made a wonderful impact. Not only in my life, but in the lives of my two younger brothers who also had the privilege to be taught by her. She displayed all of the characteristics you’d expect and want out of an educator. She was caring, she was patient, she was kind, and she made you feel like you could do anything you put your mind to! To this day if you ask me who my favorite teacher growing up was, her name is always at the top of the list.
While I can’t say that all of the influential educators in my life have been Black women, I can say that every single one has been a woman, and for that I am thankful. Growing up as a young woman and seeing women take charge in an educational setting, not only motivated me to try my best in the classroom, but motivated me to continue my education all the way to a Master’s Degree. Without the help of not only Mrs. Burris, but two of my other favorites (looking at you Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Crocker), I would have never made it that far. They not only helped me to see what I was capable of, but they all played a significant part in molding and shaping me into the woman I’ve become today.
I don’t think I fully realized how important it was to have a teacher that believed in you, until I taught for a year myself. I tried to keep my three favs in mind as I interacted with my students. I made sure I showed them the same patience and understanding I was always given growing up and it made a world of difference! I also definitely underestimated how much patience teaching takes, so kudos to not only them, but to all of the educators out there.
Being an educator that actually makes an impact on the lives of their students takes a special type of person. They are the ones who build up and mold all of the other influential people in the world today. I don’t know if I can put into words how grateful I am for people who enter into the educational field and actually have their students’ best interests in mind as they teach them, but please know that you are appreciated. You help shape the world, and you deserve the world.