Teachers Who Get Students Who Don’t Get Math

| Summerland, BC, Canada | Learning | January 26, 2014

(I nearly failed fourth grade because I didn’t ‘get’ math. My teacher that year was a remarkable woman for whom I will carry love and gratitude to my dying day. The difference she made for me was in seeing the potential I had and spending 1-2 hours a day, after school, tutoring me in the fundamentals like times tables and fractions and how to use them. As life goes on I move away, but she often asks my parents how I am doing. Fast forward a while, and my oldest son has just finished fourth grade with a teacher who made a real difference for him. I am visiting my home town, and decide it is time to thank my fourth grade teacher in person. I call her number.)

Me: “Hello. Can I speak to [Teacher’s Name]?”

Teacher’s Daughter: “This is her daughter. My mother is in a retirement home.”

Me: “Oh, I see. I am an old student of hers, and I wanted to pay a visit.”

Teacher’s Daughter: “You’re welcome to visit, but don’t expect too much, as she has dementia and has trouble remembering.”

(I visited her with my son, who looked a lot like I did at that age. She didn’t recognize me at all, but remembered my name and, quite naturally, assumed my son was me. We had a 10 minute chat, as that was all she could manage. I did get to thank her, but had put it off for too long. The lesson for all those who may read this, and who have had a teacher/professor/mentor that they want to thank, is, don’t wait.)

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