The plethora of students that I have this year has had me stymied at times. Some of my newer students are a true puzzle. Of course that is often the case when I get a new student. Sometimes people are just a mystery. As I tutor and just go through life, I always, always, always look to the example of the teachers and mentors I have had in my life. They are my guides as I attempt to scale Mt. Everest. I stand upon their shoulders as I try to reach for the stars to help my pupils and to encourage anyone that is downhearted.
Of course, whenever I think of my school years and my motivation to succeed I think of my beloved teacher, whom we called Sir. https://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/a-loving-tribute-to-sir-my-teacher-of-a-lifetime/
He and the other teacher we had the year, influenced me beyond measure. He was the first teacher to set high standards and he never settled for a half-effort from me or anyone. He changed everything. I knew I wanted to do my best from then on. Granted, I am human and I didn’t always DO my best. Some teachers in subsequent years paled by comparison. My favorite teachers after Sir (in high school and college) had a similar style. They encouraged and insisted. They were the real deal.
Think of every movie you have ever seen about an inspirational teacher and/or coach. Put them all together into one teacher. THAT was Sir. Now, I was 13 or 14 and had stars in my eyes. He was I’d guess in his mid-20s; idealistic, and excited to teach. He taught us to analyze political candidates, he encouraged us to be involved in the process and to be part of the world’s solutions. He could see what was coming in the political arena and the societal changes that were going to happen. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated as I recall, the day before we graduated from 8th grade. He helped us to grieve. He helped us to grow. He taught us to dream and to be willing and eager to do the work required to achieve our dreams.
I tell you all of this because this amazing teacher helped me to become who I am today, even though it was 44 years ago. He planted mighty seeds in my heart and mind. He did so for all of us. Ever since 9/11 I have been filled with a certain kind of urgency. You see, on 9/11 I realized there are all kinds of people I have taken for granted my whole life. This ranges from police, fire fighters, others who do all kinds of jobs, and those who helped me beyond measure over the years. I have taken plates of cookies to fire stations and police stations and recruiting stations. I have gotten in touch with many past teachers, co-workers and supervisors, doctors, and countless others. I knew that I just had to tell them thank you. Why? Gosh where would I be without all of them?
But I never got the chance to thank Sir. Well, guess what? I found my cherished Sir. I sent him an email to verify that I had found him. He actually did respond. He said that After years of being an educator, he retired in 2005. He remembered me and said that he has many good memories of 7 years of teaching in Minnesota before moving to Arizona 35 years ago to continue teaching. Now isn’t that extraordinary. I moved here to Arizona 9 years ago. How extraordinary.
He actually did remember me, and said that he wished me well in life and said that he hopes that life has been good and that I am in good health. He said that various former students send him an email every year. Doesn’t that speak volumes about the lives he touched? The ripples continue forever. I plan to send him an email every now and then. I’d love to see him at some point ~ but mainly I wanted him to know the depth of my gratitude for all that he did. I am so very, very happy that I did find him, that I can thank him for all that he did. That was important to me.
I wanted you to know that Sir continued to give and teach probably 40 years after I graduated. To Sir ~ with an infinite amount of love: I thank you, Sir ~ for opening the doors to the world.
There are ‘Sirs’ all over the world. So glad you could thank yours. Thanks for sharing
I am so grateful for the “Sirs”. I do hope you will stop back and share your memories about your Sir(s).
Kate, this is a wonderful tribute to your favorite teacher. And isn’t it extraordinary that you actually found him? I am sure he was as thrilled as you were to connect and that he is still glowing from knowing what a positive impact he had on your life.
I did send him the posts I wrote about him, and that he loved them. it meant so much to me that I found him. When he emailed me back, I almost wept with joy. Gosh I was lucky to have him! thanks Dor.
Yes, I also have a couple of favorite teachers. They do work wonders.
since i grew up in MN I Do wonder if we ever had the same teacher in different years.
Yay! Good for you, both of you.
Also, don’t you love the drawings by Richard and Frances Hook!!!
Love their drawings! There was one in the main room at the retreat I went on as a senior in high school. I cannot remember the title, but we called it Volleyball Jesus because he looked so happy, his hair was tousled, and it looked like he’d just played volleyball with his buddies.I will have to find it online and post it.
I was completely blown away to find him and receive an email back. I found a newspaper article from the Christian Science Monitor from his efforts at an inner city school in the Phoenix area a number of years ago. I will be sure to post it. hugs to you dear twin~
Yes i had a ‘Sir’ as well!
I’d love to hear about your Sir!!
How wonderful! 🙂 I’m so glad you found him!
I am too~he taught in Paradise Valley Unified School District for 35 years after he left MN> I will post a newspaper article I found about him! You know, CB ~ from what you have written about your approach to teaching, you are touching lives the way he did. May your work with your students be richly, richly blessed.
That is the very district where I teach. 🙂
(And thank you for such a kind compliment. I hope my students feel that way.)
with your Lennon Wall and returnees to see your wall and visit you, your students DO feel that way!
Great to hear that there are teachers like ‘Sir’ around. The world can’t have enough of them. Everyone of them counts to make the world a better place, educating students to be thoughtful, inspiring them to do their best and to come up with judgements based on the best information available and valuing what is truthful and beneficial to mankind. Teachers like this Sir will always be remembered by a great many students whose lives may have changed because of the quality of the teaching they received.
I am sure, Kate, your students pick up these vibes from you too. You are to be congratulated on your efforts you put into teaching. Hooray for good teachers!
It’s wonderful that you are so appreciative, Kate. I think many of us did have wonderful teachers, although I don’t recall that anyone made as much of an impression as Sir, but you have really impressed me by how much gratitude and high esteem you have held for him all these years. I know God has honored that! oxo
Sir is the one who deserves the honor—he changed our lives by opening our minds and hearts. I am guessng every single one of us was changed profoundly. there are so many wondrous people who have impacted your and my life. we shand on their shoulders. we truly do.