Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What Educators Make

I knew it was something serious when I saw the email late Sunday night. There was going to be a staff meeting in the library before school the next morning. I waited until we reached Miami at around 7 am to send a text to find out what was going on. "Sad news," came the reply from my friend Mary. One of our staff members had died the night before.

I was sorry not to be at school to help the kids through it, and sorry, too, not to be there to share the loss with our school community; as it was, Heidi and I talked it through a lot yesterday, and that was helpful, but it would have been a comfort to be with everyone else.

I heard later that a steady stream of former students had passed through the building all afternoon, drawn back to share their sadness and their memories of a big personality. He was a complicated man, and not everyone liked him, but there was no denying all that he had contributed to our school in the 20 years he had been there.

"It's funny," a colleague said to me today, "most teachers retire, and so when they pass away they don't get such an outpouring."

"True," I said, "but really? This could be for any of us. It's not taking anything away from him if we realize that we should never doubt that we have made a difference."

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