I had this sad conversation with Oldest the other day. He was sitting at the kitchen counter after dinner and I was washing the dishes.
Oldest: Mommy! Mommy!
Me: Yes, baby.
Oldest: When I grow up, I want to be a bus driver!
Me: I thought you wanted to be a teacher when you grew up?
Oldest: I don't want to be a lady when I grow up.
At which point I almost fell over from sadness. The way he said 'lady' was if someone had told him it was a bad word. And who told him that only women are teachers? N thought it might have been something he picked up on rather than it being something someone told him, but still. Unbelievably sad. I would love it if Oldest ever decided he'd like to become a teacher, inspire others to learn and discover new things.
All of my favourite teachers have been men. My favourite ever?
Mr Jacobson, 2nd grade. Best teacher ever. I have very few actual memories of him, but I remember his encouragement more than anything. His passion for reading, his enthusiasm in getting me to read more and more. My love of books was already there, but Mr Jacobson helped it along and for that I'm forever grateful. It ended badly though.
Mr Jacobson had taken the whole class to the music room for a lesson. Suddenly, as he was playing the piano he fell over. Someone called an ambulance and the last time I remember him clearly, he was on a stretcher. He'd had a stroke right there in front of us. He wasn't a young man anymore. The rest of the year, we had a substitute teacher and he retired.
I was so upset. I can still see my 7 year old self trying to keep from crying when my dad asked if there was anything I wanted to do for Mr Jacobson. I told him I wanted to buy him a gift. My dad took me to the mall and we wondered around for ages. I didn't know what I was looking for. And then we went into this weird shop that sold things from around the world. Mirrors, frames, jewellery, that sort of thing. I don't remember whose idea it was, mine or my dad's, but once that idea was put into my head, I ran with it. I hadn't been that excited about anything before that time.
We ended up buying two bamboo windchimes. I wrote a note to Mr Jacobson and put it in the box with one of them. I told him thank you, and that he was my favourite teacher, that I'd miss him and remember him. I wrote that the second windchime I'd hang on my front porch and that everytime I heard the wind blow through the windchimes, I'd think of him and remember what a great teacher he'd been to me.
And I did.