Amazing Kids! Magazine

This I Believe

By Nicole Romeu, age 17, Florida


I believe in good teachers. The last time I thoroughly enjoyed a class was in the fifth grade. My teacher was Mr. Gans and he really knew how to make the most boring lectures into the greatest. He let us go outside to play with his two huskies. He took us on a three-day field trip to the Everglades with no showers, authentic campfires and night hikes in which my friends and I discovered our very real hatred of spiders, but our love for mystery. Sadly, the year ended very quickly and he retired and lives on his farm in Montana. I never saw him ever again, but his spirit lived on and my expectations for my future instructors were extremely high. He taught me that perfection is really just a concept, and how it’s okay to chase after what I wanted, even if it seemed kind of ridiculous to everyone else. If it was what I truly desired, no one should get in the way of it.

After graduating elementary school and delving into middle school, I didn’t get the opportunity to have a guiding teacher or someone who cared about anything that was going on in my life. It was worksheet, after worksheet, after worksheet and I was beginning to wonder if school was honestly worth it and if it mattered to learn and mentally grow. Switching schools after sixth grade continued that long sequence of walking into classes and knowing that people were hired to teach, but not to inspire. People were hired to give out assignments, but not to wonder about the capabilities of their students. I lost hope and confidence in my own abilities, which were tediously cultivated by Mr. Gans, but did not see their harvest day.

Once high school loomed over me, I already had the notion that I would come to class, sit in there for two hours, and go to my next class as if nothing had happened. My mind began to skip over to other things; I lost the simple joys of reading and writing every day. But that all changed when I hit eleventh grade.

When I saw this teacher’s name on my schedule, I was frightened. I heard about the intense workload and I just wanted an easy way out, because I felt like I wasn’t strong enough or intelligent for a class of such demanding levels of effort. However, walking into that room, fifth period, third block of the first day back from summer vacation, my life turned around. Here was a woman who wasn’t playing any games: she wanted to see us succeed through any hardships and embrace ourselves as individuals with many talents. Through the wall of sarcastic jokes and nonchalance, I saw, for the first time in seven years, a person that wholly put her heart into her work. The assignments she gave, though very challenging, did not require an eighteen ounce drink of coffee: these were small pieces that she gave me to put together to complete a personal puzzle. The pieces, some large and some, quite small, were eventually all figured out to reflect back at me a picture: a picture that encouraged me to be brave, trusting, bold, and above all, myself.

This was not a class that was about studying to pass a test, nor was it a class to pass time. She showed me that life is indeed short, so I should spend it doing what I hopelessly love. And that, no matter what my dreams and ambitions were, all of them were achievable and beautiful. I believe teachers are the foundation for things like knowing what shape DNA has and calculating the square root of pi. But I believe a good teacher, is the key to unlocking your passions and making you realize your worth.