Not Included in the Syllabus

If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught me, it’s that educators are severely underappreciated. I’ll be graduating in a mere two weeks and it wouldn’t have been possible without those who have dedicated their lives to teaching.  

I’ve been fortunate to have an amazing education, and with that comes amazing educators. However, some of the best lessons my educators have taught me have had nothing to do with textbooks at all. 

My junior year of high school is when I really started to enjoy writing, something I never thought humanly possible.  

I was experiencing my first heartbreak and was tasked by my English teacher to write a Macbeth response journal. It was my first piece that I was passionate about. I decided to write about my high school break-up, which in the moment seemed to be life-altering (spoiler alert: it wasn’t.)  

I wrote about what happened, my insecurities and how I could never seem to let go of what other people thought of me; things that I normally wouldn’t tell a teacher, but I knew I could tell Mrs. Kirsche.  

When I received my response journal back, she had written me a note. It read, “Perhaps in the future you may surprise yourself and care less than you do now about what others think– In the meantime, know that I think you’re an impressive young woman.”  

Mrs. Kirsche probably doesn’t remember writing that note, but I do because it was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. I felt validated and I felt proud of my work.  

Mr. Healey was known for being one of the strictest teachers at my high school, and for good reason. He had no problem calling anyone out for breaking the rules.  

The biggest rule he had was if you were going to be absent from his class you had to email him to let him know. It seems like a small rule, but he was very adamant about it.  

Looking back, I think that’s the biggest lesson I took from high school to college. It seems like common sense now, but I thank Mr. Healey for instilling that rule. I’ve skipped my fair share of college classes, but I’ve always emailed the professor to let them know. I think it’s a little thing that they appreciate.  

As a freshman, terrified of going over my allotted absences, I went to class sick (pre-Covid.) If my appearance wasn’t a give away, my non-stop coughing definitely was. After class, Professor McGovern pulled me aside.  

When he asked why I still came to class and I told him that I was out of absences, he had to stop himself from laughing in my face. He told me not to worry, to go home and rest. Maybe drink some tea, and to not come to our next class meeting that Thursday.  

It was such a small gesture, but it was so heartwarming in the moment.  

Those three classes make Dr. Reid the professor I have had the most classes with at Sacred Heart– and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them.  

When I wrote that Macbeth response journal in high school, I didn’t know that writing would play such a huge role in my life. I didn’t know that until I took a class with Professor Kabak.  

Professor Kabak teaches the News Writing & Reporting class, she also serves as the advisor for The Spectrum. She’s strict and intimidating, but she’s also kind, funny and an amazing educator.  

 It’s because of her that I found my knack for journalism, my ability to lead as an editor and quite literally, the reason that I have the opportunity to write this editorial.  

Professor Kabak knows talent when she sees it, and as a student, it’s an amazing feeling to be recognized by her. When I started as a staff writer, I had no intention of joining the executive board. I knew I could write well, but I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone, and Professor Kabak did that.

All of these instances were fleeting moments most likely long forgotten by the teachers and professors mentioned, but moments that I will likely never forget.  

I will forever accredit a piece of myself to these educators. I hope they know that, at least by me, their kindness was never overlooked.  

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