Let me tell you a little story about 6 years ago.
Picture young Amanda, sitting on the floor of her bathroom, with the water pounding on the running shower in the background. Tears were falling down my face, I was panicking.
My life was over.
I was riddled with anxieties of graduating, of having an education. Would I get there?
I was 17 years old. I was pregnant. I was due to give birth on March 2nd, long before the school year was set to end.
I can’t begin to even describe the terror I felt as everyone around me described where (they thought) my life was going. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. I got good grades, was in extracurriculars, had a good family. This wasn’t supposed to be me.
But it was.
I, Amanda Flynn was a pregnant, scared little girl and I had decisions to make.
Would I drop out with the intention to go back? Would I go back?
Would I try it? Would I be able to afford Daycare and the time off it was going to take to recover from birth? What if I had a cesarean and needed 6 weeks?
I ran to the guidance counsellor, crying. Basically begging for a suggestion on how to do this. I couldn’t stop. I needed to do this for this child. I needed my education. Only for her to light up, to tell me that with the grades I had and the courses I had taken I was eligible to graduate in February. One month before I was due to give birth.
I breathed the most incredible sigh of relief as I sobbed into my hands. I could do this.
And I did.
From September to February I battled my morning sickness, my preeclampsia, sheer exhaustion from being pregnant and I got myself to school. I managed to be in a musical, direct the glee club and tutor. I wrote exams 9 months pregnant. It was the hardest 6 months of my 17 year old life, but I pulled through with a great grade point average (and a pretty big number of absences🤷🏻♀️).
I was incredibly blessed, I have a lot of teachers and support staff to thank for being there for me while I was struggling. For being my backbone and some of my best supporters. They were kind, they went out of their way, they gave up the time to give me the extra attention I needed, to send me homework, to not make my grades reflect my absences, to accommodate any special needs I had. They were there. Sir John A MacDonald High School was just an integral and incredible part of my life.
Now, I say this not because it’s a sad story and (although I hope it does inspire someone going through something similar to reach out) not because it’s about overcoming obstacles.
But because we have lost an incredible amount of respect when it comes to our teachers and their support staff.
We have NO idea what they go through on a day to day basis. You have NO idea how often they go above and beyond the call of duty. How many LIVES they SAVE. How many children COULD slip through the cracks, but don’t because of these people. These people who have given their LIVES to educate the future, to give them the knowledge that they will use for the rest of their lives.
Educators saved my life. Educators save lives EVERYDAY.
And I hope, when my (now) three children need support, need help with anything, that their teachers will have all of the resources possible at their disposal to help them.