Lessons on Electric Hope   | Teen Ink

Lessons on Electric Hope  

April 1, 2023
By Moonwallflower GOLD, Maple Ridge, Columbia
Moonwallflower GOLD, Maple Ridge, Columbia
13 articles 2 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
You can be very wild and still be very wise.
- Yoko Ono

I stood in the middle of the stage, a shower of light caressing my face. I couldn’t believe I was standing there. Barely a year before, I had been diagnosed with social anxiety. The diagnosis did not come as a surprise. Having tomato-red cheeks, and foggy glasses due to the heat of my face was quite common for me. What’s ironic about social anxiety is that it’s because I am so afraid of embarrassing myself that I usually embarrass myself.
I cringed in front of all the attentive eyes, adjusted the microphone, and inhaled suavely. No one was forcing me to recite my poems. I could run away if my wobbly legs didn’t give out on me first. I stared at the jury and counted three fervent heartbeats before opening my mouth.
Once I started reciting, the rest came to me fluidly. I channeled the adrenaline through my voice. I felt electric like that time I went for another roller coaster ride after throwing up half of my dinner. I felt… sickly alive.
I was grateful too. If it hadn’t been for Miss Stewart, I probably wouldn’t have dared to enter the recitation contest. For a few years, I had been writing poems to purge my feelings. Some of my teachers had applauded my writing style, but none had ever been as invested as Miss Stewart.
Miss Stewart congratulates me, but she also encourages me to improve. Often, I send her my writings via my school email, and she always responds with encouragement and insightful advice. When I decided to participate in a poetry recitation contest, she took her lunch breaks to practice with me and the other candidates. When one of my fellow classmates wanted to start a poetry club, she was there to support her. When I wrote a very personal essay on mental health, she never judged me. Quite the contrary.
Miss Stewart's class has a warm aura to it. It is an environment in which students feel confident to share. Last January, a poet came to give a workshop in our class, and many of my classmates stood up and recited what they had written. The poet was quite impressed with our participation and said he rarely saw that in high schools. What can I say? Miss Stewart is good at spreading electric hope, precisely the hope that pushes students to be brave and express themselves. Even students like me, who typically just watch.
As I write this, I smile because I know that Miss Stewart's impact is a long-term one. Quoting Henry Brooks Adams, Miss Stewart is a teacher that affects eternity, a teacher that can never tell where her influence stops.

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