The role of a teacher is just as sacred of an honor as being a parent. It carries with it such a heavy responsibility that if not done right can lead to harming a child’s self confidence and ability to thrive in this world if not supported and taught the tools to grow them onto the next level. However, if it’s done right and the child is left feeling whole, able, supported, cared about, seen, listened to, and believed in (among other things) they can thrive and have the ability to make this world a better place, inspiring others like them along the way. I’m grateful to be a positive, loving example to my kids both inside and outside of the classroom. I’m especially grateful for the sacred honor of being an example in this world and during a time where more examples are needed for young people to remind them of and unveil to them their power, capabilities and possibilities if they work hard and keep progressing with hope and trust in God.
I’m especially grateful for those great examples that came before me. I have had several teachers that made a huge difference in my life, whether they taught me inside the classroom or outside of the classroom as a coach. I would personally like to thank Ms. Crowder (4th grade teacher), Mr. Brown (My 7th & 8th grade TV Production teacher), Ms. Perkins (my dance coach between 7th & 8th grade), Mr. Edwards (my 8th grade Social Studies teacher), Ms. Tyler (My HS Social Studies teacher), Mrs. Antinori-Martin (my 9th grade Honors English & 11th grade English teacher) and Dr. Kaggwa (my college journalism professor)
Ms. Crowder – Taught me how to open a soda can with long acrylic nails. I don’t remember a lot before 6th grade, but I remember this. And YES I had acrylic nails (starting) in the 4th grade. Interesting Fact: I can imagine it being the trend and me going to get my nails done with my mom, it was just the natural thing to do, but getting such a head start on those is the reason why I prefer my natural nails today.
Mr. Brown – Helped nurture my gift and passion for all things TV Production/Broadcast (what I would eventually study in college) by choosing me to participate in putting together the morning announcements. Interesting Fact: When I wanted to consider going for radio he was the one who also encouraged me to go for TV because they made more money.
Ms. Adrienne Perkins – Was one of the first major black female role models that I had in school and was amazing at connecting with us and still does today.
Mr. Edwards – I actually learned geography (or at least all 50 states) in his class and he also stunned me by nominating me for an award during our promotion event, which was something like “the most likely to succeed.” He prophesied over my life on that day by sharing that he could see me being an owner of a business, something I had not even considered at that age. Although I don’t remember his exact words, the idea that I took away from all that he said is what motivates me to this day. He was the first to instill in me that I am a Boss leader and am destined to succeed as an entrepreneur. The impression he left on me is what lead me to pursue entrepreneurship.
Ms. Cynthia Tyler – Was another black female role model that was instrumental in why I enjoy social studies to this day. I remember when she asked me to be her teacher’s aide during my sophomore year. It was so rewarding to be able to serve her at that time. I was also grateful to have the opportunity to learn from her in the first year or two that I began teaching as a substitute teacher. I was grateful to not only sub for her, but to get to chat with her while I subbed for other teachers at the school she now teaches at.
Mrs. Anastasia Antinori-Martin – Was one of the most challenging teachers I’ve ever had and I know it only made me a better writer. I had her as a Freshman in Honors English and I had her again during my junior year. She challenged me in English, but she also challenged me when it came to making a college choice. When I went to her to request a college recommendation and I told her that I wanted to go to Hampton University over Howard University, she challenged that though, which led me to think again and when I was accepted into Howard University, I had her to thank as she wrote the letter that went to Howard. Needless to say, she was right and I’m so grateful for her wisdom and gift of teaching that led me to go to a place that has taught me so many life lessons, has gifted me with lifelong friendships, many of which have developed into family.
Dr. Lawrence Kaggwa – Was my print journalism professor who was the hardest of the bunch. I had never fought so hard to pass a class than I did for his. Despite already being what I felt like was a good writer (I got A’s in all of my English classes), he pushed me to be better and learn his teaching. He was one of the few teachers I had to consistently go to see during their office hours, yet I can honestly say he made me a better storyteller because of his determination for me to be the best I can be. Fact: His teaching and guidance has made it easier to write things like my blog posts here on the Humble Sunshine site and my chapter in the book, No More Chains, that was published in 2016. Dr. Kaggwa gave me a gift that keeps on giving!
Each educator stands out to me during a week like this because they all contributed to a special part of my growth and development. It’s amazing how it has all come full circle and I know I would not be the woman or educator that I am today without God putting these teachers in my life who truly embody the gift of compassion, love, support, and being able to see me as God sees me. God did a great work when he put these people on my life’s journey and I’m forever grateful. Special thanks to every one of you and Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to the many other very deserving educators out there doing this great work!
~Be Humble. Be Motivated. Be Inspired.~