In honor of World Teachers' Day today, tell us about a teacher who had a positive impact on your life.
The AIM prgram in my school was what is called the Gifted program or Honors program in other schools. As I remember it, I got in, but just barely. My reading and English skills were great, but my math skills were horrible. Which is still true, for whatever that's worth.
The teacher of the AIM program, Mrs. Tucker, was a very kind, very nice lady who was more interested in what we wrote in our journals than in how well we followed directions. She was always giving me a book, or a puzzle, or, more importantly, telling me it was ok not to like some of the other kids. She told me that I was good at writing and that I should do a lot more of it. She told me that maybe Jenny was serious when she said she liked me, even though I thought Jenny was only having a laugh at my expense. Mrs. Tucker loaned me a copy of Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" and told me to keep it when I asked if I could borrow it for the third time.
I was not the most well-adjusted child, emotionally speaking. I was prone to fits of tears and anger I could not explain when life threw forth some situation in which things became unbalanced, unfair. The other kids seemed to understand this in ways that adults could not and rarely made fun of me for it. On the other hand, I was not quick to respond to jokes or pranks and preferred reading to playing. They did make fun of me for that. But Mrs. Tucker, without ever once explaining herself or embarrassing me, made it ok that I liked to read. She made the other kids understand that it was part of me, just like the socializing in miniature was part of them; reading had grabbed a piece of my brain and refused to let go just in the way that some pop music had made them want to pick up guitars and drums and keyboards.
Neither Mrs. Tucker, nor fifth grade, for that matter, enters my train of thought much these days. I have no idea where she is or what happened to her over the years. But, what I do remember, sometimes, when my mind goes into weird places it has no business going, is that day in eighth grade when I found out Jenny really did like me. And then I think about Mrs. Tucker, and about my childhood when I did not understand much of anything but I read some really good books. And then I go find my copy of The Martian Chronicles and all is rendered right again.