My Pick for Teacher of the Year
There is this woman I’ve known for over fifty years now. She is smart and funny. She’s talented and caring. She’s beautiful inside and out. She is, quite frankly one of my favorite people on the planet.
She’s a teacher. In fact, we taught in the same district for a year or two. I was teaching in an elementary school and she taught social studies at the high school.
But that first year when she started teaching in the Fairfield district, we sat next to each other at the opening day speech offered by the school district’s superintendent.
She proved to be an excellent teacher. I recognized that quality in her early on. She was caring and sensitive to her students. And fair. She worked hard to make sure every student had every opportunity to succeed. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Like me, she wanted to be a teacher since childhood. I knew in second grade I wanted to be a teacher. She knew even earlier. She would line her dolls and stuffed animals up and teach them to read. When asked if her teddy bear could really read, she said, “He can read but he can’t talk. His mouth is all sewed up!”
I wish all teachers could have such confidence and understanding for their students.
Eventually, we both left the school district to teach teachers. I left to teach at the university. She eventually left to train teachers through in-service at the county educational service center.
We were kind of in different places but still connected. Always connected.
Last Sunday, I was invited to her birthday party. It was a big deal. Her husband did the cooking and her kids, who now tower above her, openly demonstrated how much they value her.
I hugged her when I walked in the door. I recounted the day I first met her fifty years ago. I’ve found a way to share that story with her every year on her birthday. Usually, it’s been face-to face, but sometimes I’ve had to share on the phone or through an email. One year I wrote it all out for her.
Yep, I’ve known her for over fifty years.
Fifty years ago on March 19th, she entered my world.
Allison. My firstborn.
She’s my daughter and my friend. She’s the mother of my two oldest grandchildren.
And she’s still the best teacher I know.