A good part of life is about making connections. I briefly met Diana and Gabe during Dinah and Kody’s wedding last December. However, I tend to have tunnel vision during a wedding, and I’m so focused on the couple and the day that I sometimes forget names of guests. So, when Diana messaged me about graduation portraits telling me how she was at Dinah and Kody’s wedding, I was touched that she remembered me from that day. I asked to meet with Diana before our shoot just so I could get an idea of the type of photos she wants and how to approach our shoot. Turns out, she is married and her husband joined us in our coffee chat.
I suggested we meet at Summermoon which is one of my favorite coffee shops in Austin, and it’s become my go-to meet up place for grad meetings. Summermoon is in walking distance from the St. Edward’s campus, and the coffee is excellent. Their signature drink is a Full-Moon Latte, named after the sought after moon milk that makes their drinks so addictive. St. Ed’s people joke that they make the drink with cocaine because we always keep going back to it. However, their drip black is amazing as well; the wood fired beans give it a rich and deep flavor.
During our coffee chat, we talked about her life, St. Ed’s, future plans, their love story, and their future plans as husband and wife. It was a gorgeous evening to sit outside on the deck, and we talked into the evening when one of the baristas turned on the stringed lights. A little snippet of goodness that I learned about Diana: she grew up in Austin, and her family would take her to St. Ed’s campus throughout her childhood for various reasons.
Diana is an art major and education minor at St. Ed’s. This semester she was finishing up her senior show piece and student teaching. Diana wants to be an art teacher for the little ones. Her husband, Gabe, was in the army and is now taking classes at Austin Community College. He wants to be an elementary teacher as well.
As Diana is preparing for graduation and looking for teaching positions in Austin, she posted to Instagram about her hopes and dreams to be an art teacher:
“I'm prepping myself to go into interviews and I have really been reflecting on the teacher I want to be. If you know me you know I'm super empathetic towards others, I have always been this way. I remember at one point in my life people around me told me I needed to grow tougher skin and I took it to heart- I became so bitter at life. However I am now at a place in life where I realize that my empathetic and soft heart are what makes me, me. The world needs people like me. Students need teachers like me. Parents and teachers will most likely hate me for being too soft and too caring but I don't care. I care that I will be made available for that brown skinned girl, with dark bulging eyes scared of the big, big world that was once me. Growing up I didn't see "ME" represented in the staff at schools so here I am making myself available with a listening ear and open arms to ALL my future students.”
It’s people like Diana who were born to be teachers. God created them to spread knowledge; however, knowledge isn’t always from a textbook. There’s knowledge in understanding the world, the people in it, and about life in general. While it’s important to know information, it’s even more important to know the importance of helping humanity and our society. A teacher is tasked with so much: caring for many children at once, having to teach all the children while trying to find ways to make sure each child is learning in a way that makes sense to him or her, keeping up with administrative duties and paperwork, and trying to lead the kids in the right direction. Teachers are so influential in a child’s life, and it is my opinion that they deserve more recognition than our society generally gives them. I have many teacher friends, family friends, and family members. I hear about the struggles they go through, but I also hear about the victories. I hear about how they try to be the Mr. Feeny in their lives.
If you don’t know who Mr. Feeny is, you must not have been born in the 90s. Let me educate you.
Thank you, teachers, for undertaking a huge responsibility. It’s not an easy job my any means.