Flight as a Means of Escape From Making an Impact

As I thought about Ida and her courageous story in Flygirl, I thought about one of my own teaching experiences.  It was a time when I lost confidence in my own drive and determination and missed out the beauty of one chance experience.  It was originally published on the This I Believe website in 2009, not under my pen name, Alexandra Caselle, but published under another name.  I write and publish my blogs, fiction, poetry, and memoirs under my pen name, and all of my social media sites are under that pen name as well. On this blog, I plan to write new stories on my teaching experiences, but I thought it would be a great story to share in connection to Flygirl. 

Here is the link to that piece:  http://thisibelieve.org/essay/57577/


Think about how Ida’s persistence and courage influenced other characters in the novel and also adolescent readers.

Have you ever had an experience in which you influenced someone or missed out on the opportunity to make an impact on someone?



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8 responses to “Flight as a Means of Escape From Making an Impact

  1. Such a sad story. I remember letting some students down once. I’d been coaching them on how to read their work outloud and when the night of their reading came I was so ill with a chest infection I couldn’t go. It was the same feeling as in that piece – I could see that something was lost between us when I saw them again.

    • I know what you mean. You feel really bad when you let them down. It is like letting your own child down and that look of disappointment is etched in your mind. It is one of those moments where time travel should be real & available to correct it.

  2. This was very moving. Wow.

  3. Wow, that was a sad story. And the fact that the student never asked about your whereabouts speaks volumes. I’m sure you felt remorseful.

    I remember being let down by a significant adult figure when I was little and into my teens. I vowed I wouldn’t ever let my kids down like that.

    • Yes, I am still remorseful about it. I vowed to myself that if I ever return back to the secondary classroom I would never miss out on an opportunity like that again. I think as a child it is much harder to deal with that disappointment than if you were adult. As an adult, you know how to handle it better even though it still doesn’t make it any easier. Thank you for commenting!

  4. I did a very similar thing once. I spent many years working at a college with students with disabilities. I had one particular student with a lot of learning disabilities, really struggling to make it in college. He was a wrestler and had nominated me for a staff/faculty recognition event at his wrestling match. I am not a wrestling fan, but I had every intention of going and… bam… the night came and went and I completely spaced it out. I felt so badly– just like you described. It still bugs me a bit, even though I realize we’re not perfect, people forget things, life happens. Still, it bugs me; it’s never my intention to let someone down. Ever.

    • Thanks for commenting, Julie. You are right about no one being perfect. Life does happen. It still gets under your skin when you never intend to let someone down. After that experience, when my college students asked me about coming to an event, I would let them know if I could not attend ahead of time. I would think about my schedule and decide when they asked me if I will be able to attend. I have learned that if I commit to something I must honor that committment. Now if I only can apply that nugget of wisdom to honoring committments that I make to myself.

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