On Facebook I read about a teacher from my junior high school that passed away recently. I was never fortunate enough to have her, but her reputation was such that I remember her well. In one of the posted photos, Ms. Morell is on a field trip with Mr, Byrnes. Mr. Byrnes, on the other hand, I did have as my teacher and boy, did I love his class. All the girls thought he was adorable, an important trait when in middle school, and hung onto his every word. More importantly though; his class was fun and his stories were interesting. Somehow, he managed to make history intriguing for me; something that never happened before. I looked forward to his class and so did most of my friends, boys and girls alike.
Many heartfelt condolences appeared on Facebook for the late Ms. Morell. People wrote all sorts of things about how they loved her class; how she made learning Spanish fun; how she understood kids. The point is, thirty-five (or so) years later, people remember Ms. Morell. They may not have thought about her often in the last years, but when they heard of her passing, warmth filled their hearts as they recalled the joy she brought to their edification. We remember the teachers that leave impressions on us. How many of us can say we are surely going to leave an imprint in this world? A good teacher does. We hope, as we send our children off to school each day, that they will be blessed with teachers that they too will remember in thirty-five years; teachers that made a difference; teachers that will fill the screen on Facebook (although by then I am quite sure there will be something far more sophisticated that I will struggle to have my grandchildren teach me). The excitement for learning that a good teacher, a funny teacher, a warm teacher, can evoke is priceless.
Here’s to the Ms. Morells’, the Mr. Byrnes’, Kohuts’ and Edelsteins’, Mrs. Wells’, who managed to make a mark on my life. Here’s to the millions of teachers that get kids, make classes interesting, and have changed someone’s path or brought light to a subject. Here’s to the teachers that make a difference.