Encouragement to Achieve Your Greatest Potential

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Published on May 4, 2020

Teachers build the foundation for what we think is possible. In order to achieve our greatest successes we need encouragement. Some of the most creative, inventive, and successful people have those who encouraged them to reach for their greatest potential, and saw something great lying dormant within them. In all aspects of study and education, students need someone to give them opportunities, and allow room for growth.

Encouragement is a quality that I recognize and appreciate from all of my favorite teachers.

From the very beginning, I have been blessed with some of the most amazing teachers. 

For a brief time in elementary school, music was a regular course in our daily studies. In the third grade I picked up my very first instrument, the violin. My music teacher, Mr. Tondi, encouraged me to be confident in the music that I produced. He helped me to not be afraid to play a wrong note, but instead to strive to learn and continue to work towards my greatest potential. While I took to string instruments easily, natural ability isn’t always enough. It was through his teaching that I found practice and dedication can truly help you become a greater artist. Mr. Tondi taught me that playing an instrument is an extension of yourself, and you can’t be afraid to use music to express what words can’t.

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There are also moments outside of the classroom that students need a gentle kick in the pants, and it takes a special kind of teacher to handle those situations. I consider my tenth grade Biology teacher one of them. Mrs. Pickard encouraged me to be more forgiving with my failures. I have always been severely critical with my work, and sometimes felt incapable of being satisfied with “good enough.”  As I got older, that stubborn perfectionism only got worse. At some point, I just stopped caring about my work. I refused to turn in assignments that weren’t up to my impossible standards; I was prepared to fail myself and simply drop out of school. There were many dark periods in high school where I wasn’t even willing to try and help myself succeed. It took some pretty heavy conversations with Mrs. Pickard after class, where she expressed concern and compassion. She saw that I wasn’t putting in the work I was capable of, and was willing to help in any way she could. It was her kindness and care that somewhat kickstarted a bout of motivation. In the end, I allowed myself second chances so that I could graduate with the rest of my class. I will always be grateful to her for taking action, and helping me when I needed it most, inside and outside of the classroom. 

As an honorable mention, I think it’s necessary to thank Ms. Downey, my general science teacher in ninth grade. Thank you for giving me the Heimlich maneuver in the computer lab when I started choking on gum. You took action when the entire room seemed to freeze while I simultaneously started to turn blue. I’m grateful that you took lifeguard training when you were younger. What you did encouraged me to take CPR training courses extra seriously in the case of an emergency, and I think that all teachers should be CPR certified, specifically for this reason. I will always look back on that moment and cringe, but I haven’t had a piece of gum since. You have my sincere thanks for literally saving my life!

I look up to every single one of my teachers, from beginning to end and all of the lessons I’ve been able to apply in my higher education, and eventually career goals. I appreciate all of the encouragement to reach success.