Coming to Grips with Savanna

Coming to Grips with Miss Oveson
by Savanna

As any other middle school student, I had absolutely no hope for myself.  I was an awkward young girl, quick to say what hit my mind and lacking the basic social skills to uphold a conversation.  You may obviously note that middle school kids are rotten to one another; each of us have stories from that time in our lives that we cringe at, that we wish to forget and move on from.

During this point in time, I had an English teacher that I had set my mind to despise. I couldn't tolerate her.  I hated that class the moment I stepped into it.  I was an openly defiant brat and was sent to sit by myself in the back room plenty of times, enough that I took to carrying around a small rubber ball and playing a little catch with it in my special time-outs.

For an odd reason I can't put my finger on to this day, she gave me a chance.  My English teacher could have scraped me off like mud on her hands and sent me to a different class, to be somebody else's pest.  But she kept me.

She told me one day, after reading some writing I had done for an assignment, that I had the potential to be the next Christopher Poloni, that I was good.  I was immensely honored, and stuttered a thank you before sitting back down at my desk.  From then on, that woman became my idol.

I wanted to be like her.  I wanted to be the tough single woman, who was talented and athletic and funny.  I was obnoxious, to say the least, happy enough just to talk to her.  I became her teacher’s assistant the next year, sitting in the back of the room and grading papers and watering the horde of plants she had – 27 of them, to be exact.  I only remember because I was allergic to one of them, unsure of which one.  I was usually a sniffling mess in the back corner, trying to hide that fact, because it would be so obviously embarrassing to have my idol notice I had a natural human reaction to a plant.

It’s late at night, and I conducted a curious Facebook search approximately half an hour ago for the woman I used to look up to.  She was a major influence in my decision to try to become a teacher, and here I am, set to take teaching courses this fall.  I graduate in less than four weeks, and will probably forget many of the things I've done in my student career.  But I'll never forget the first person to tell me I could do something and told me I could do it well.

Thank you, Miss Oveson, my track coach and English teacher, for putting up with my chaotic behavior and constant pestering, and for giving me the hope I needed to continue writing to this day.

Savanna graduated from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.