First-Grade Student’s Gift of Plastic Bags Brings Texas Teacher to Tears
"Sure, the world needs better readers and writers.... but our world really needs softer hearts, eager hearts, and willing hearts."
Katie Pearson has her work cut out for her, but that has never stopped the Fort Worth educator from bringing her contagious energy and passion to her first-grade classroom at Blue Haze Elementary School.
Now in her fourth year, Pearson admits that powering young brains can be a challenge. "It's almost overwhelming in a sense," she told NBCDFW. "Because you see where they're at, and almost you feel panicked because you have so much more to go."
A few weeks ago, Pearson took to Facebook to vent about the pressures of state testing, grade-level performance and academic data—and how one tiny gesture from a student helped put it all in perspective.
"Sometimes or most of the time, as a teacher you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders," the now-viral post begins. "You feel if not everyone of your kids leaves reading and writing on level...that you have done a disservice to them. You feel like you not only failed your students, but the parents, the next teachers, the administrators, etc."
"But today," she continues, "reality hit me at the end of the day straight in the face. Reality hit me by a six-year-old holding a box of ziplocs [sic]."
The box of sandwich bags came from a student named Jasmine, NBCDFW reports.
"I gave her bags because she said she needed bags for lunch, and I didn't want her lunch to be all together," the little girl told the local news station.
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On Facebook, Pearson explained that one day before winter break, she happened to mention to her class that she was out of Ziploc bags. She told them how she was in a rush that morning and simply put everything— her chips and sandwich—in one bag.
The story stuck with young Jasmine, who told her mom that her teacher needed Ziploc bags.
"It was a long time ago, but I still bought her bags and I forgot to give her them but now I gave her them," the sweet six-year-old explained to NBCDWF.
Pearson said the moment brought her to tears—good tears.
"Sure, the world needs better readers and writers.... but our world really needs softer hearts, eager hearts, and willing hearts," she mused on Facebook. "Our world needs kids who observe more and learn from it. Our world needs more compassion."
"So I'd rather have a class leave with a heart that loves others than with the ability to read a DRA 16," she concluded. "Because those ziploc bags mean more to me than an entire class on grade level. Anyone can teach them to read but not everyone will teach them to care."