I have a big sign in my school bag that says SLICE OF LIFE. It is a reminder for me to remember to write on my blog which has been inactive since 2013. I go through phases with my writing. This will be the longest stretch that I attempt to write since I was in high school 25 years ago. All day long I kept looking at situations thinking about what small snippet I could write about. Nothing seemed to really stand out until I went on Facebook while waiting for dinner to arrive. It was there that I read the following from my favorite teacher that I had the opportunity of having in 4th and 6th grade: My health has deteriorated greatly in the past month and I have entered Hospice Care. Texting is difficult for me but I enjoy reading about your thoughts and successes. My students' have been a great joy in my life. Be kind and be a blessing to others.
It took everything I had to keep the tears flowing from my eyes. I was stunned. I knew she was sick from her Facebook posts but I also thought she was getting better. I haven't seen Ms. Teles since I was in high school, but I had kept in touch with her. I talked with her as I was doing my masters thesis on consumer math and we chatted about cemrel, a math program that I never understood and she was completely against teaching. Our conversation, at that time, confirmed everything I believed to be true about my struggles in math, the teaching of cemrel was to blame.
I had the opportunity to have Ms. Teles for two years in elementary school. She was the first teacher that recognized I didn't get school. She was a strong supporter of my being held back in sixth grade. I remember being so angry with her at the time, but it was the best decision my parents could have made regarding my education.
Ms. Teles was a liberal teacher who taught from the heart. She made us correct every mistake we made in our classwork to make sure we understood what it is that we got wrong. She took her class of sixth graders on the AATA bus to go see Walter Mondale's rally in downtown Ann Arbor in October of 1984. Who does that?!
It is because of her that I teach. She was the first teacher who saw something in me that I didn't see in myself. She made me feel like I mattered. She is the type of teacher I strive to be.
As I sat there stunned by the news, I started reading the comments. So many from former students who had the same connection and admiration that I had for her. Ms. Teles made all of us feel special. Good teachers do that. I only hope that one day, I can be my students' Ms. Teles.
And now, I will let the tears flow.