One of the first assignments I give my students each year is to write about a role model. It’s two-fold, as it provides a sample of each student’s writing strengths and weaknesses, plus it is an introduction to the Heroes unit which begins with my very good friend, Mr. Beowulf. You know, the guy who eats lunch with Bill Shakespeare and Smitty MacBeth every fall.
As I was reading and assessing the responses turned in this school year, I noticed that a few of my students penned their assignment about someone that I, too, think is pretty fantastic.
I’d like to share my response for this assignment…
When I think about what a role model should be, my first thought is, usually, that it has to be someone older. That’s not the case here…mine is about 17 years my junior. But she is wise beyond her years.
I am more positive this year partly because I am trying to emulate her passion for literature and her dedication to the profession. I admire her carefree demeanor, how she champions fairness and ethics, and how she is REAL.
She used to sit at a desk in my classroom, and here she is, years later, with her own desks and her own students.
She is joyful, always smiling when surrounded by her many friends and her family.
She doesn’t hide her emotions. Instead, she is honest whether she’s happy or sad or angry or worried. In my eyes, wearing her heart on her sleeve is what makes her REAL, which is not a flaw, but a sign of strength.
As I embrace my calling of writing, I look to her for inspiration and guidance. I used to be her teacher, and now, the teacher is truly learning from the student.
We have always connected since the day we met back in the early 2000s. She’s an old soul, and even though she was just a baby and then a toddler, the 1980’s left a lasting impression on her interests and likes. Her two true loves are Bruce and Elvis, and even though she thinks she knows more about Seinfeld than I do, I am the master of the Seinfeld domain. Yeah, that’s right!
There’s nothing more satisfying as an educator than reading about a former student (who once completed this same assignment) who was chosen as a role model by current students.
With one book already published, she received word recently that her second one will be published in the coming year. And if I know anything about her at all, she’s not stopping there. She sets the example I want to follow.
Mandi Bean, the world is a much better place because you are in it, my friend.
May today be the first day of the most WONDERFUL year of your life, for you certainly deserve it.
With my utmost admiration and gratitude,