Being Remembered

“Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.”-Jacques Barzun

Yesterday, my 90 year old Mom was visited by a young man whom she first met about 39 years ago when he was a newly arrived 8 year old student from Hong Kong. Mom became his first teacher in the U.S. Mom knew that David was very special. He doesn’t remember this, but he would always say to mom, “Research, research,” and she would keep giving him more work to do. Today, that nearly 48 year old man is a researcher in mitochondria in California. He has a wife, 2 children and his dearly loved mom lives very close by. David’s dad died a few years ago; he was surprised that Mom remembered his parents owned a restaurant in Baltimore. We had a lovely visit, went out to lunch then I went home and left Mom and David to chat a little longer until his taxi picked him up to take him back to the airport. David was in NY to present some of his research to a leading cancer research center in the city. He last visited with us about 3 years ago.

As a teacher, you never know how you will impact the lives of your students or just one student.




3 thoughts on “Being Remembered

  1. Ilene, thank you for another fine post. You cannot overstate the importance of good teachers! I’m reminded every day of so many I had the privilege of studying with — the grade school teacher who got me through the basics (I wrote to her until her death, but doubt that I ever thanked her adequately for reinforcing my love of reading, history, geography and on and on); my high school biology, geometry, world history and English lit. teachers; the college math instructor who got me through just enough algebra (and whom I mainly remember for his kindness and humor); and the professor who showed me that even analytical grammar can be interesting, and fun. I’ve done all these wonderful teachers too little credit, but I thank them one and all!

    My partner regularly visited and did all he could to help his high school industrial arts teacher as he grew older, until Mr. Petzinger died, somewhere in his nineties. Chuck says he learned more from him than from any teacher he ever had, more in the logical approach to projects and problems, rather than for any particular skills he taught. “He showed me how to think, how to break down a process into logical steps, and how to look for the simplest way to do something.” No surprise that Chuck also became an industrial arts teacher, and in his turn, he now has a number of former students who still call and visit him.

    Yet those single-minded “education reform” pushers, who just seek greater population control and more money by privatizing and commoditizing education, do believe teaching can be reduced to numbers and graphs. (Sorry, I shouldn’t even think about it here on your blog, it’s too hard not to snarl and swear!) – Linda

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