Hey, it’s International Women’s Day! There are so many influential women who have nurtured and supported me over the years. Today I wanted to uplift my middle school math teacher Ms. Millar.
To be honest, I don’t remember much about Ms. Millar, other than she was a kind, sweet, older white lady that taught 6th grade math. But still, she had a huge impact on adolescent Riki. Because she was the first person who made me think that maybe I was smart.
Ms. Millar saw in me the potential to be more than the middling student that I was at the time. For some reason, Ms. Millar thought I could do better. So she recommended that I be transferred from the general math class to the advanced algebra class.
This was huge for me. I had never thought I was particularly good at math, or really anything. And this algebra class felt ten times harder than any other class I had ever had. The teacher was notorious for being a hard grader, happy to give out D’s and F’s, but also celebrating students for high achievement with a leaderboard at the front of the room.
I was scared out of my wits and worked harder than I ever had on anything.
Not only did Ms. Millar push me into this advanced class, she also kept tabs on me over the semester. So the first time I made the leaderboard, Ms. Millar tracked me down in the school hallway. “See, I told you, you belonged in that class!” she said, beaming.
So thanks Ms. Millar for believing in me more than I, or anyone else, believed in me. You made a big difference in my life.