One of the first memories I have of stories being told about youth in this “single story” kind of manner was in a teacher’s lunchroom. I was sent to grab something off the copy machine for my teacher and just so happened to walk in on a group of teachers having lunch. I remember waiting for the copies to finish and the teachers talking about how horrible this one particular student was. I remember thinking to myself, “ Don’t they know his parents don’t care about him?” I don’t remember why I thought his parents didn’t care about him, but I remember feeling sad. I remember thinking to myself, “ This what teachers do? They talk about students and don’t even care to help?” Although the details of what they were saying are vague and the details of this boys life are as well, I will never forget this moment. Yes, he was a troublemaker, disruptive, and extremely annoying at times, but whom they were talking about in that lunchroom was not the same person… at least not to me.
Senior year in high school we were all given the assignment to write a narrative. It could be about anything we wanted. We were told to write as if though we were painting a picture, our words had to create images in the readers mind. It had been four years of growing relationships and long terms cliques. During the editing phase it was the first time I was able to read about someone outside of my “clique” and what he or she had been through. Someone who I had shared many classes and moments with, but never really knew. Despite my natural desire to read about people and know their stories, I was blown away by what people were willing to share, and how they told their story. I was now the teacher in the lunchroom just that the student being talked about, was now able to speak for themselves.