I’ve had some marvelous teachers throughout my educational journey, and I’ve had some that were unmemorable. Mr. Gange is #1 on the amazing list. He brought chemistry to life for me in 8th grade with Table of Elements game style quizzes and team challenges. Everyone in class could break down a chemical formula with confidence and ease, even Todd*, the student who refused to make eye contact or talk to a single teacher. I never had a teacher like Mr. G before or since. Students loved him for being original and thoughtful, and I appreciated him for giving me a lesson on human potential.
According to my shallow 8th grade girl perception, Todd must have been lacking intellectually. Everyone for years could see his red F(s) or the discreet manner teachers would fold his quizzes and exams, as if to whisper loudly, “I will spare you the embarrassment.” He never really spoke much but seemed to scream with his whole being, “I hate school!” No one messed with him. He had physical power and talent unparalleled in gym class and at the neighborhood basketball courts. As wonderful fun Mr. G’s class was, and how to this day I have a love of science, it was the transformation of Todd in Mr. G’s class that taught me something profound. I will never forget the first time Todd spoke in class to answer a question. I think the moment froze because we could not believe he had raised his hand and then answered correctly. Instead of oozing praise all over him, Mr. G gave him a quick, “correct” and moved on. Hindsight tells me, Mr. G was doing internal back flips because he just reached the unreachable. A wonderful beginning occurred that day. Todd came alive in Mr. G’s class. He smiled; he participated and became a contributing team member. I charge Todd’s metamorphosis to the man, Mr. G, himself, a gifted teacher who brought enthusiasm and joy to the process of learning. I learned my basic chemistry but witnessed a human’s potential rise. I am grateful for the experience in knowledge and will never forget Todd’s smile while learning.
I encourage you to be that teacher this year! The one who can reach the unreachable. You may never know what other students you bring along the way. Share the encouragement with others and good luck with the new school year.
*Todd is an alias.
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~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice