It's National Teacher's Week! Some restaurants and stores are even offering teachers discounts or even free food this week! Hopefully, it's a restaurant teachers like. I believe in paying teachers more money. They are the ones molding your children.
While I never learned about money from any of my teachers, and while I believe that a basic personal finance class should be taught in school, I also know that my life would be dramatically different without the amazingly hard-working and caring teachers I've had in my life.
First, I'd like to say that NOT all teachers are great, but we learn from them, as well. One day, my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Gibson, gave us a piece of paper with a drawing of a boy or a girl...kinda like the one below...
We were supposed to color in this drawing with what we looked like, but I heard Mrs. Gibson say to color it in, the way we wanted to look! At that age, I was obsessed with dark, purple-hued blue hair, for some reason, so that's the color I used. When I was only halfway done, the paper was snatched out of my hand and shown to the rest of the class.
Boys and Girls...does this drawing look like Katy?
Katy...do you have blue hair?
I just stared, dumbfounded. Shook my head, in shame.
At six years old, I didn't understand what just happened. I just felt embarrassed. And...I beat myself up.
I beat myself up for not understanding the teacher's instructions. I beat myself up for thinking outside the box. I beat myself up for doing what I wanted to do, rather than what every other kid in the class was doing. I also felt ashamed for what I looked like, in that moment.
I mean, I was the only Asian kid in that classroom. Everyone else looked the same. I was the only one who stood out, and now, I stood out even more...as the weirdo with the blue haired girl drawing.
Years later, a friend of mine heard this story, and she compassionately said, "Oh you poor thing! She stifled your creativity, at such a young age." I understood exactly what she meant because all through my elementary school years, I, then, became the "teacher's pet..." the one who did everything "perfectly." I needed to strive for that perfection because creativity and thinking outside the lines just got me in trouble and laughed at. Even when I was applauded for my writing abilities (won a few contests for story writing and a speech I wrote) and artwork (my art teacher bought two drawings I made), I didn't think anything of those "artistic" accomplishments. Instead, I strived to get perfect grades, and I would even punish myself for any perceived imperfections.
It continued until Junior High School, after I had met my first most influential teacher, Mrs. Judith Putnam. Mrs. Putnam was the Speech, Debate and Theater Teacher at Nichols Junior High. I happened to take her class, for some reason my 8th grade year, and it changed everything. Not only did she teach us how to how to research, write and deliver compelling speeches and arguments, she also became my confidant and mentor. She would spend hours after school coaching students for speech and debate tournaments, and then if I had issues at home, I could always go to her to have a shoulder to cry on. She was the first teacher to truly care about me, as a person. I told her things I hadn't dared tell any adults. And...she celebrated my creativity. She cast me as the lead in several school plays. ME?! The Asian girl, as the lead in a school play? I even got to play a princess in a fractured fairy tale!
She saw me, as I didn't see myself, and by the time I turned 15 and went into 9th grade, I developed a sense of confidence about myself that I had not dared to have early on in my school years. Along with my mother, Mrs. Putnam sparked the idea that I could be whoever I wanted to be.
I've had many more influential teachers along the way, but I wanted to talk about Mrs. Putnam because one of my core values is CREATIVITY, and my husband and I had a discussion about it, this morning. We can't be everything we want to be without creativity, and creativity comes from really knowing who you are and how you want to show up in this world. Otherwise, it's so easy for someone to throw you off your game, especially when this world is always judging you for your choices...whether that's blue hair or not.
In honor of National Teacher's Day, comment below on who's your favorite teacher and why? Also, in honor of National Teacher's Day, I'd love to give you a FREE 1-hour session, where I teach you about money. Interested? Just click HERE to sign up or HERE to schedule. You can also send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.