This has been a hard year of losing teachers, first a high-school English teacher who was my yearbook advisor, and now the woman who embodied the Talented and Gifted Program for fourth- and fifth-graders in my city. That program gave me faith--that I have even now--that even if the place I found myself was dreary, somewhere only a shortbus ride away was a place where people did not laugh at me for being smart.
I learned from Tim today that the woman who first embodied that faith for me died a month ago. I suppose that these days the children of Newport News have a different teacher for that program, and who they will come to associate with their own faith. For me, though, there could be no other.
It is funny: I have, in my twenty-two years of formal education, had a lot of teachers, many of them immensely inspiring (let's not talk about the others today). But you never do forget the first teacher who really expected you to stretch, and gave you some idea of how to start, and made the whole thing seem like the most fun a person could ever have. Ms. T., each time I walk into my own classroom, I do it with the hope of bringing you back to life and introducing you to another group of kids hungry for what you gave us all.