I may have written this in the blog before, but I truly believe that people come into our lives for distinct reasons, and most are generally right on time. This definitely rings true as it relates to Aimee Green. She was my daughter's (Paloma) kindergarten teacher. And to say that she was a wonderful teacher is an understatement.
Paloma had a bit of a tough transition to kindergarten, and I never saw it coming. Ever since she could talk and became aware of school, she looked forward to going to kindergarten at a "big kid school." As the weeks and days approached before the first day of school, she became giddier and giddier. She would imagine what her teacher would be like, what she would learn, and all the friends she'd make. She picked out her lunchbox and backpack with care and she was ready to go. And then the first day came, and it was a bit of a shock to her system filled lots of tears and trips to the nurses office for psychosomatic stomach aches.
Fast forward to the end of the school year, and you couldn't tell her that she doesn't rule the school. She ended up having an amazing kindergarten experience and I credit that to Ms. Green (that's what I've called her all year and I can't stop now). Ms. Green was patient with Paloma's quiet sadness. She took the time to understand her- to really get to know her. She gave her (and the rest of the kids in Paloma's class) the space to be themselves. Paloma tangibly felt the investment Ms. Green had made in her, and in exchange my daughter fell completely in love with Ms. Green.
Ms. Green is an awesome Oakland public school teacher, and she is one of the people who make Oakland so great.
Here's a bit of her story in her own words...
What's your name? Aimee Elizabeth Green
Where are you sitting right now? And why did you choose this location for our time together? My classroom, my students take up most of my waking life and sometimes my dream life as well. I love my job and who I get to work with on a daily basis. I feel blessed to be inspired by the young people of Oakland.
What's your connection to Oakland? Do you live here, work here, play here or all that and then some? I started working in Oakland about 12 years ago. Before I started working here, I lived in San Francisco. My mother is a native and I had grown up thinking that the place across the bridge was a million miles away. Once I started coming here on a daily basis, I discovered what a rich, beautiful place it was. I moved over here and later became a homeowner here and would never live anywhere else. People become deeply attached to this city. It grows on you like no other place. When people disparage Oakland, I tell them they don't even know. Oakland is a hidden gem.
What do you love about Oakland? How did you end up here? And why do you stay? I love the spirit of Oakland. Someone recently said to me that Oakland is the place where the pilot light of revolution is always lit, and I totally agree with that. The Oakland A's are the essence of Oakland to me. They are scrappy underdogs who make do with what they have. I love that. Oakland is my spirit animal.
What's your superpower? I think my superpower is my ability to laugh. Also, I will put an egg on almost anything.
What are you grateful for? My mom. I have the best mom. My mom and I have gone through a lot together. She taught at the same junior high school that my sister and I went to. I wasn't a very pleasant person in 7th grade. Her students actually felt sorry for her because I would start a fight with her while she was teaching. I managed to come out the other side and we've become very close. I think I get my sense of humor from her, and I definitely got my love of baseball from her. Some of my favorite time is spent at the ballpark with her. It's something she did with her father, and now she shares it with me.
What are your hopes/dreams for the future? My hope for the future is that I can continue to be able to laugh and enjoy life. I hope that I can continue learning from the kids in Oakland. I hope that I get to see the A's win the World Series.
Thank you, Ms Green, for a wonderful year! Have a restful summer!
(And yes, my daughter has on her PJs. It was Pajama Day. What can I say?)