One of my favorite teachers of all time was Mr. Hickerson. He was my sixth-grade teacher, and he was tough. He loved math; I hated math. He loved science; I hated science. You know how it goes.
It would seem that having a teacher who enjoyed subjects that I loathed would be problematic. However, what I haven’t mentioned is that he had a heart for students and a passion for teaching.
Every morning before class began, he would do “fast math” with the students who were there early. His “fast math” consisted of rattling off equations and then pointing to a student for a solution. Imagine your teacher saying this equation quickly and then pointing at you for an immediate answer: 3×70/10+12-17+4. It may seem simple enough, but for someone who still uses tick marks and fingers to count on occasion and who was painfully shy at the time, it was torture.
Whenever Mr. Hickerson would point at me, I would feel my throat constrict, the tears well up in my eyes, and my face flush as my mind went blank. It was so embarrassing. But as I mentioned, he had a heart for students.
Mr. Hickerson recognized that I was stuck, but he refused to let it go. Though he continued to point at me in the mornings (just like he pointed at everyone else for an answer), he would conduct informal “fast math” sessions with me while I waited in line or at recess or even at lunch. Gradually, I began to catch on and to gain confidence.
Eventually, I was able to answer when he pointed at me during morning “fast math” sessions. I didn’t always have the right answer or any answer at all, but I sure beamed when I gave a correct answer. I like to think he also took some pride in my success.
A good teacher sure leaves a lasting impression. Here it is years and years later, but I still remember his kindness and tenacity. Thank you, Mr. Hickerson, wherever you are. You made a difference in my life, and I sure appreciate the time, effort, and attention you gave to help me grow.
Next week, the first full week in May, is Teacher Appreciation Week; and Tuesday is set aside as Teacher Appreciation Day. Please take a moment next week to recognize a special teacher and his/her efforts. Teaching is a tough profession and often educators don’t get the credit they are due.
If you are looking for some fun crafting ideas that will get your kids excited to share their love for each and every teacher, check out these sites for creative inspiration:
And if you are wildly impressed by your child’s instructor, why not give a subscription to Little Passports for the classroom? You could even get a group of other parents at school to pitch in on the subscription to make it very reasonable. A classroom subscription is the perfect way to give your favorite teacher a new way to share fun facts about the USA and the rest of our world with students.
**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.