Last week I had the pleasure seeing a past student of mine. Blair Streater walked into my classroom seventeen years ago as a cute little four year old. I can’t say that I remember every student that I have ever taught, but there are those that stand out. One of my first memories of Blair was meeting with her mother who was diligent in making sure that our program met her child’s educational needs. She asked all the right questions including one that took me by surprise. She asked if we had any other black children. I had never been asked this and had to honestly tell her that we didn’t have any. This was not unheard of in our small town seventeen years ago. I went on to reassure her that we would love to have Blair and she would be treated no differently from the other children.
Thankfully, Blair’s mother entrusted our center and gave me the privilege of teaching her. Not only was she a very bright student, but she was a well-rounded great child. I could see leadership skills in her when she would try to assist the other children. I fell in love with this little girl and her family. We shared many fun moments outside of the classroom when I was allowed to take her home to play.
So, this week was even more exciting to me when I learned that Blair was attending Princeton University studying to become a surgeon. Being one of her first teachers; this didn’t come as a surprise to me. I have always known that education doesn’t begin in kindergarten; it begins in those early years. Blair was a sponge ready to learn. Her mother explored all of her options and choose the best early care and education for her child. Her mom did her due diligence, as I am sure she has done Blair’s entire life.
As a teacher, I was blessed to have a small part in this wonderful women’s life. I thank her mother for trusting me to care for and educate Blair during that important fourth year of her life. Being an early childhood educator is a unique profession and has been my life calling. Seeing a student that has succeeded and you know you have a small part in that is very rewarding!
“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.” - Maria Montessori