As an educator, we always reflect back to those individuals who have had an impact on our lives. I don’t need to preach to the masses and tell you being a teacher or educator of any age, we all have the opportunity to influence ones education. This particular teacher in my elementary years was one that was fortunate to teach myself and all of my siblings (5 total). Being the oldest, you are always the testing grounds for parenting and in this case what type of learner the teacher is going to get. Thankfully in the this case, all of us in the Patry family were all unique learners and didn’t share any particular learning style.
It just so happened that my mom ran into a current teacher at the market whom still teaches at the old stomping grounds and mentioned this teacher from my past was coming into town. For the past few years I have always wanted to write to this teacher from my past and the opportunity came knocking. Yes, I’m sure I could have searched out the information and written prior to this run-in, but for some reason I never got around to it, but a few weeks ago I did.
Yes teachers or influential people come and go in our lives, but I think it’s important to share with them how important and influential they were to you. Some of these people may not be around anymore, but it still is worthwhile to reflect and remember. Fortunately for me, I was able to contact and even had the chance to grab a coffee (my treat of course) and catch-up after all these years.
Maybe one day I will be fortunate enough to have the same experience with one of my students.
I have always wanted to write to you to and say…
I know I was never the best student in the class (but definitely one that was all over the place) but you never let me believe I was hopeless and and wouldn’t allow me to give up and believe that I couldn’t do it. You pushed me as far you could and never gave up and for that I thank you.
From what I remember, you weren’t easy on me, but you did have high expectations for myself and everyone else that you taught. You challenged me to push myself and I know I wasn’t easy to push (pretty stubborn really) and was very reluctant to take those challenges (and often thought you were the meanest person in the whole entire world for making me do things). You still pushed and encouraged me to move forward (regardless of the stubbornness). You looked for moments to commend me. I’m sure at times your praise for my work seemed only partly true and I’m sure you felt like you were being set-up on a reality show for saying such things, but you did all of this because you knew (and hoped) your actions would trigger me to do better and realize what I could do, for that I thank you.
My experiences throughout school were often occupied with everything else but learning. I know I didn’t apply myself to what I truly could do. Obviously, like a good scotch or fine wine, age does make it better. I am very honest with my students today expressing what type of student I was and how those experiences have shaped the learner and teacher that I am today. For that I truly thank you!
Who would have seen this all those years ago, that I would be the one teaching (or warping) a classroom full of kids and continuing my own path of higher learning? I can honestly say, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else! Thank you for being an inspirational and character builder for me all those years ago.