This is one of those posts I had mentioned that is completely off topic; nonetheless, now that I’ve started blogging, I’m compelled to write.
I met a friend from high school yesterday for a play date. I had a great time watching the kids run around (mom speak: yay, nap!) and catching up with an old friend.
I spoke to my friend’s mom, who taught kindergarten at my elementary school, and I mentioned a teacher that I have thought about getting in touch with for years. Unfortunately, she informed me, he passed away. I am so unbelievably saddened.
I’m taken aback by just how much it has saddened me.
A few years ago I went out to run a last minute errand. According to proper etiquette I truly should not have left the house but I thought ‘I’ll just be a minute’. As I headed to the store I started using my non-existent telepathic powers to ensure that I didn’t bump into anyone I knew. As I was rushing back to the car, pleased not to have seen anyone, I looked up and saw my old teacher. He had turned his back to me a few cars over but it was definitely him. I stood there completely frozen with this little voice inside my head saying ‘do you really want to see him looking like this?’ I stood there, internal debaters raging, and by the time I decided I didn’t really care that my hair was a mess and my clothes covered in paint, he had left. My one chance to tell him how much he had done for me.
I will continue to think of Mr. Smith. I will remember the proud look on his face when he read my poems and stories. How he could critique my work while still making me feel like it was the best thing he had ever read. I will remember how even when he wasn’t my teacher he still encouraged me to write; happy to read it and help me. And, I will always remember the ‘real-life’ game he had the whole class play where we ran our own businesses for the year.
It was in university that my husband had a professor that impacted his life and guided him along the path to success. Mine was Mr. Smith in grade 6.
The last lesson Mr. Smith taught me wasn’t just the difference between a simile and metaphor but, almost 20 years later, he has now enforced the life lesson of never letting an opportunity pass you by. And to always tell people the good stuff. If I had have spoken to him that day, later when he was relaying the story to someone it may have started with “I’m unlocking the door and hear my name. I turn around and there’s this crazy woman with hair the size of Connecticut…’ But that wouldn’t have been the part that he remembered years down the road. He would have remembered that he must have been a great teacher for someone to remember him so fondly and, now, to be putting his lessons to good use.
I was too daft to tell Mr. Smith that day so instead I honour him by letting you know what an incredible teacher he was.