This post is not about me. I could only hope to be the teacher that he is.
20 years ago, I met someone who affected my heart and soul. Little did I know that he would affect the souls of hundreds of students- all over the world.
Shane did not start out teaching. He was an engineer for a huge company; and he hated it. The money was good, the benefits were more than fair, he ate donuts every morning. What could be so bad?
When we met, he had quit his career, moved 800 miles from home, and was waiting tables on the beach. Those first few weeks together, we began talking about the future. What were we going to do with our lives? His answer was very clear- he wanted to leave work each day feeling that he made a difference. I know, it sounds very cliche, but being a teacher’s kid, I got it.
Together, we became middle school teachers- because they are the best teachers (my completely biased opinion)! Even though Shane’s degree was in Humanities, his first teaching gig was actually STEM (well, what we would call STEM, 15 years later). After that, he was hired to teach science, then math. His passion was Social Studies, yet his years as an engineer were hard to resist for administrators.
Finally, he had his chance- but it was out of middle school and teaching in high school. Would that faze him? Any true middle school teacher is flexible, adaptable, and a little bit crazy. He handled it just fine. He didn’t change his philosophy. He still sang, danced, built collaborative projects, and loved his students. Kids can tell when a teacher loves his job; and it makes the class more enjoyable. When students WANT to attend class, they perform better. It’s not rocket science. He does miss middle school- that is where he truly shines.
I am so proud of the Master Teacher with whom I share my life. He is humble, though. He does not save the letters from former students who are now at MIT, UCLA, or Northeastern. He did not want his graduation speech shared on YouTube. He does not know I’m writing this. He doesn’t “follow” me.
Teachers, when you receive those sweet notes from students… keep them safe. Scan them and put them on your website. You do have a website, right? Check out our website, it has a little bit of everything (shameless plug to follow): prairieworld.wordpress.com.
He leaves tonight for Manila. His Varsity Boys Soccer team have a tournament. I guess I am missing him already. Travel safe.