The Power in My Hands

Chris - Long Beach, California
Entered on November 13, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

All through high school I had the same math teacher. Mr. Fisher taught me way more than just geometry, intermediate algebra and calculus; he opened my eyes to see the power I held in my hands.

Every day I had Mr. Fishers class I would leave completely exasperated by his comments. He would generalize and come off as being racist and sexist. When I had my fifteenth birthday Mr. Fisher told me, “ First comes the quinceañera, then comes the pregnancy.” I was outraged. How dare he say such a thing; I wasn’t like the rest of girls, I cared more about school than having boyfriends. I was determined to make him eat his words. I had a bit of appreciation for Mr. Fisher because as time went by in his class I realized he wasn’t just being rude, but he had a purpose for all those comments and jokes; he wanted his students to open their eyes.

I admired Mr. Fisher because he had a turbulent childhood and he came out of it; he wasn’t trapped in being a victim. He grew up in Compton with an alcoholic mother and a step dad who beat him.

I gave up junior year. I didn’t worry about school, I was tired of being mature, and didn’t bother showing up to any class. I wasn’t doing my homework, or studying. I didn’t want to have to sit in class, swallow my tears and listen to Mr. Fisher. I knew that with me slipping I was telling him he was right, and that I was no different from others.

Mr. Fisher was very blunt and not scared to confront me with the truth. I would dread showing up to his class. One time that I had to make up an exam; he began to scold me. Every word he said hit home. He knew I was about to cry and said, “ Don’t cry, what are you going to cry for, get mad and change what you are doing.” I cried. I knew he was saying the truth. If I continued with my attitude I would prove everyone else right. He reminded me that I was expected to be a slut, get pregnant and drop out. As I walked home I decided that I needed to stop being apathetic. I took his advice and raised my grades.

The last time I saw Mr. Fisher was on my eighteenth birthday. I proudly told him, “ I’m eighteen and still not pregnant.” He was like, “ I know, I speak to you the way I do because I know you can handle it.” I thank Mr. Fisher for pushing me to see that I have no limit. He helped me realize that I make my own expectations,and I am the maker of my destiny. No one can stop me, only I have the power to do that. I believe the power is in my hands.