Daniel was a very shy, fourth-grade boy who, over the course of the school year, had gone from a child with very low self-esteem to a student who blossomed into a writer that Megan could only describe as "poetic."
"One day, toward the end of the school year, Daniel shuffled up to me after school and said: 'Ms. Allen, I have something special for you. It's one of my favorite things,'" she recalls.
Knowing that Daniel didn't have many material possessions, Megan gently tried to decline the offer, saying that it meant so much that he even thought to give her something. "I will forever keep the memory of your kindness," she told him.
But Daniel refused. He reached out one closed fist, slowly opening it, to unveil...a rock. "Ms. A.," he said, "I was thinking. School is my rock. I know I can always hold onto it, that it's always there for me."
That's when Megan realized the power and importance of education, school and teachers. "Straight from the mouth of a child, the truth hit me like a ton of bricks," she says. "School is the rock in this child's life. His life is full of changes and instability, but school is one place he knows he can count on. School is the rock in many of our students' lives—it is their stability, their home away from home, their safe place."
Since that moment, Megan has always remembered that teachers are there to be the rocks for their students, to be the stable forces in many of their lives.
"In return," Megan says, "our students are our rocks, reminding us of the importance of education."