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The Beauty of Acknowledgement

I think a common experience that military kids share at one point or another is a pre-determined identity as the "new kid." In many of the places we moved to, I was only seen as the kid who was going to move away and nothing more. My identity was rooted in something completely out of my control. I hardly ever had people that would take a chance on me because I wouldn't be around long enough for me to be worth anything. Sadly enough, I got this treatment most from adults. I didn't form relationships with many adults, because what is the point in forming a valuable relationship with a kid who will leave in another year or two? For a long time, the only adult figures I had to fall back on were my parents, and maybe some extended family when we even got the chance to see them.

That was until I met one of the most important adult figures in my life, who helped shape me into the person I am today. My sixth-grade history teacher was one of the first adults who looked at me and saw Emma Moris. I wasn't just another military kid to her. I was someone of worth in her eyes. She took time to get to know me as a person because I knew deep down how much she cared. It wasn't just me who she took time to know, she knew every kid that walked into her classes every week. We were all important to her and our contributions all mattered to her. On the first day of school, I remember how she said she would always be there to support us in all our endeavors. It wasn't relevant whether they were related to her class or not, she cared about what made us happy as individuals. Not only that, she wanted us to enjoy what we were learning. She didn't drown us in homework because she knew we had lives outside of her class. Instead, we were assigned projects she knew we'd enjoy.

When I think of teachers who truly impacted my life, my mind immediately goes to her. She made me feel seen and listened to, which isn't true for many of the adult figures I had met previously. Even if there was the possibility of me moving away, she poured herself into my education and into my life. She took a chance on me, inspiring my love of history, pushing me to do good in band, and just supporting me when school got tough. I think many teachers who encounter military kids in their teaching careers could really learn from her. Not only teachers but anyone; the acknowledgement of others has made me feel better about myself. When people want to invest time in you and want to know you, you feel like you can let go of this pre-conceived notion of who you are "supposed to be", whatever that notion is. Being acknowledged by others in a way that is deeper than where your next PCS will be makes you feel less like someone that has been placed in a single grouping. You become a human being, who just so happens to move around.


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