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.