Today, as I was running around trying to get my classroom together, I had to stop to make my nail appointment. I couldn't have my nails looking crazy before school started! Let me preface this by saying my nail tech is Black and I love going to her shop. Today, her daughter was there. I just so happened to put on one of my many MSU polos from when I worked for college of engineering. Her face lit up when she saw my shirt and ask if I went to MSU. I told her yes and no (because I'm taking a few semesters off to teach). She told me she wanted to go to MSU, with the biggest grin. I told her I did my undergrad and I'm currently working on my master's. She said she wanted to get her Ph. D. She has really big dreams! And I was excited for her. I want her to shoot for the stars and to one day get that Ph. D. But the most important part she said I left out on purpose. When I told her I was an MSU student, she said I was her inspiration. That really touched my heart.
I went into teaching to make an impact on students who didn't think they could. I got my bachelors because I knew I had to because that was the only way to do this. I'm getting my masters to one increase my pay and two so I can be a batter teacher for my students and integrate technology. All of my reasons are internal. They are and were for me. I didn't go to school because of anyone else but solely for selfish reasons (it sounds bad like that but let's be real, I wanted the degree for me and it's a huge accomplishment). But not once I did I ever think about my impact on my community. I never thought about how I'm being a role model for others. I didn't see myself as an inspiration to other Black girls who have big dreams. On my drive back to my classroom, this was all I could think about. My short two minute interaction with her and I made an impact on her life. I've had one student tell me before that I was her role model for how I carried myself. But I just chalked this up to I was her teacher. This was different. A child I had never interacted with before this looked up to me. I only imagined it in the classroom. Never outside. The feeling is surreal. Until then, I never thought about what my impact could be in this way.