A Different Kind of Experience

A Different Kind of Experience

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom

A Different Kind of Experience

A daughter is a day brightener and a heart warmer.
~Author Unknown

I went into high school knowing that my experience would be different from many of my fellow classmates. My mother was an English teacher at the school that I would be attending.

I was immune to the nerves that many students must overcome their first year. Instead, I strode onto the campus with confidence. Not only did I have the added security of knowing that my mother was only a few buildings away, I also knew my way around. I had no fear of getting lost, or apprehension about my teachers, many of whom I had known for years through my mother. All of this was great, but the real surprise was when I got to see my mother in an entirely different light.

I will forever remember lunches with my mother. Instead of sitting out in the Arizona heat or in the crowded cafeteria, I chose to eat with my mother and a regular group of her students in her air-conditioned classroom. I enjoyed these times immensely, because I felt that we grew closer than ever before. I was able to see first hand how much her students—my peers—liked her. Why else would they voluntarily opt to spend their lunch hour with a teacher?

I also learned how comfortable other people felt around my mother. Students and other teachers would constantly come to my mom to reveal personal problems they were experiencing, while also seeking advice. Her kindness and generosity became apparent to me.

Still, the most altering experiences for me were the two opportunities I had to be a teacher’s assistant for my mom. When not grading papers or performing other tasks, I would sit in the back of her classroom and just watch her teach. Not only was she an excellent presenter of information, she also incorporated comedy into her lessons. She would tell stories about our crazy relatives and make jokes that even teenagers today would understand. This was the most shocking revelation to me; I learned that my mother was aware of what was occurring in my generation, perhaps more than I was. As a result of her masterful teaching, the students responded in a positive way. They were learning while also enjoying my mother’s wonderful sense of humor.

In what seemed like an instant, my high school graduation arrived. I could not believe that four years had really passed. This unique experience with my mother was at an end, and I was sad.

People warned me that going to the school where my mother taught would be a mistake. But throughout high school I never once regretted attending my mother’s school. Looking back at my high school years, I recall the new students that I met and a few exceptional teachers that I was given the privilege to know. But the most extraordinary part of high school was having my mother right there with me.

~Christina Flaaen

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