Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ms. T.

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.

5 comments:

mateen said...

What a lovely tribute! The woman was a life line--one of those people whose energy and resourceful seemed infinite. Enviable & essential!

estaminet said...

I didn't realize she taught you too, or I would have told you Sunday. Sorry about that. There are online guest books in the Daily Press that you can sign...

Magpie said...

I remember well my sixth grade teacher. She's in a nursing home now.

Timothy said...

I'm sorry you had to find out about it through my blog. Yours was a lovely tribute indeed--though I suspect that the program in Newport News, as in so many other places, has fallen victim to No Child Left Behind/No Child Allowed Ahead.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the talented and gifted programs continue. However, they are no longer pull-out programs if what I have heard is correct.
M