Tuesday, February 7, 2012

a thank you to teachers

The other day at work, I had a chance to talk to a co-worker that I don’t get to talk to often. He told me about his marriage of 28 years, our love/hate relationship with math, budgeting, and (oddly enough) teachers that made impacts on our lives.
The other day, I read an article on AOL today titled, “Teacher’s Words that Changed My Life.”
I’d like to think that most people have that special teacher who made an impact on their lives and will forever be grateful to them but for me it goes much farther. I have several.

Mr. L, oh goodness… Mr. L. He was my Algebra 3 teacher my sophomore year. His class was the first class I ever slept in and one of the only classes I got 100 in (no lie…. 100). He’s a big dude (not much of a challenge since I stand at barely 5ft tall)- former Marine, booming voice, laid back attitude, father of four girls (poor guy!). He, apparently, thought Vincent and I would make a fantastic couple even though Vincent had a girlfriend at the time. He was always so supportive of Vincent as a Marine, me as the loved one of a Marine, and of us as a young couple. He always stopped to talk to me and on one occasion (when I was about to burst into tears) he didn’t brush me aside because I was emotional- instead he talked to me and just simply listened. He was such a blessing in our lives.
Mr. P- love him! He was what I would like to call a silent mentor. He gave me free reign over the graphics room and I learned so much from him. He always greeted us each morning with a smile and genuinely cares about his students. He inspired and encouraged me to let my creativeness flow. He’s a great, easy-going teacher that has a wonderful attitude about what he does. One time I broke the glass on the silk screen developer. Oh. My. Gosh. I was so embarrassed and mad at myself and as I was telling Mr. P, I was totally holding back tears. His reaction stunned me (literally) - he simply said, “Ok, I will take care of it” and walked away. You see, I didn’t want to tell him- I was that embarrassed – but my mom always told me that it’s better to tell the truth upfront then deal with the consequences later. He didn’t make me feel like an idiot and make me an example to the rest of the class, he didn’t suspend me for being careless, and he didn’t show any disappointment- he simply “took care of it.” He is awesome. Point blank, it’s not up for discussion.
Mr. H- my photography teacher. He was tough. I mean TOUGH. The first day of Photography 1 he tried to scare as many of us as he could to get kids to drop the class. He warned us that the class was expensive and difficult- it wouldn’t be an easy “A.” And he wasn’t kidding. I spent hours (willingly but still) in the dark room trying to get my image just right. He had no problem telling you your photo sucked and I needed that. I needed to be pushed, not babied. I decided to take Photography 2 (ended up with only 2 of us in the class but it was great) and it was great being able to help the 1s through the class.
All I wanted in high school was to make a mark. Big or small it didn’t matter- just something. I didn’t realize that it would be taking the time to talk to school officials on a real level. In my junior and senior year, I got pretty close to the principal, Mr. O, and one of the assistant principals, Mrs. G, at SV. My friends (and Vincent!) would call me a suck up but I genuinely liked talking to them and getting to know them. I always thought I was born in the wrong decade and I just get along better with people older than me. So what!? Sue me!
Mrs. G let me miss an entire period because I was mad at my teacher. I stormed into her office and told her that if I went to class I would probably get suspended because my teacher really, I mean REALLY, pissed me off and I didn’t know if I could hold my tongue (sorry Nanny for the language but you know how I was when I was younger!). So, for about 45 minutes I sat and talked to her and I am so grateful she let me. She took the time to be there for me in a time where I felt so helpless.
Everyday at lunch, I would go up to the front of the cafeteria and talk to Mr. O simply because I enjoyed talking to him (I mean I could have been annoying the crap out of him and I would never have known it). At graduation, our Mr. O gave me an extra long hug (which held up the line and apparently was extremely noticeable) and told me he would miss me and wished me luck. It seriously made every bad thing that happened to me in high school vanish.
High  school wasn’t that gosh-awful-I-hate-life scenario for me because for the most part it was pretty awesome. I will never forget the teachers that made an impact on my life and I want to thank you. Thank you for believing in me, for pushing me to be better, and for being a friend. And thank you to all those who teach. I cannot imagine doing what you are doing but thank you!

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