it’s always for a good reason! That is, if it’s at all possible that creepiness is justified.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m an internet or even a Google wiz but I did succeed in what I deem to be quite a feat of Googling today. In between waiting for the kids to finish their various dilly-dallying before their lessons, I decided to do a simple search for a teacher I had way back in the 4th grade. Now, let me preface this by saying that I don’t normally do this. That is, I don’t usually google random people from my childhood past but this teacher was something special.
When we’re young, we’re malleable, easily-shaped. We’re like silly putty almost. Ok, not that changeable but much more pliable than we are now. And while I had always been a good student (most likely a result of the Tiger mother upbringing I was afforded), my 4th grade teacher really changed things for me. What he did was, well, he made learning fun.
While at home, we learned by rote memorization, dictation, and copying and recopying lessons until everything was ingrained in our memories, Mr. 4th Grade Teacher used games, the competitive kind, to spur our curiosity. One game I clearly remember consisted of looking at slide shows of birds and listening to bird calls. We were split up in teams and competed to see who recognized the birds/bird calls the fastest. And wouldn’t you know it, within a few months, most of the class could tell the difference between a warbler and a canary just based on its call.
Mr. 4th Grade Teacher taught outside of the curriculum and loved spearheading projects. Take the garden for example. He had this great idea to bring together all the different classes and grades to plant a little garden in the school yard, on the hill overlooking the kickball field. Not only did we manage to realize this idea (is that English? I’m getting French and English mixed up now), but we learned so much along the way. We installed a little pool, complete with fish and tadpoles and built a compost bin. Though I’m not as much of an environmentalist as I once was, one of the main reasons why I’ll carry my water bottle around those extra few blocks to recycle is because he instilled in me this awareness that what we do affects the planet and affects everyone else. Heck, if I remember clearly, that garden even brought the community together. I vaguely remember seeing plenty of non-faculty adult faces at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
If this rant hasn’t convinced you how much I adored (not in a romantic way) that teacher then I’ll tell you this: I found a guy who is teaching science in his state. It was a long shot but I thought hey, what’s the worst that can happen? So I emailed him. And you know what?…
Sometimes, I win at life.
Now I’m afraid I won’t be able to go to sleep out of excitement. Yes, you are allowed to stamp a big Glee sized “L” on my forehead for LOSER but this dude totally changed my life! He taught me so much and most of all, he taught me to love learning, to appreciate knowledge, and to be curious. I would liken him to Ms. Frizzle:
Sometimes, when I feel lost, I try to think of the big picture. Do I want to become famous? Perhaps be a big time partner at a big time law firm? Marry rich and just chill? I mean, they would all be good but isn’t the purpose of life to live your best life possible? To be the best you? And most of all, to touch someone else’s life? I know I’ll never be Ghandi, Jesus, or Mother Teresa, I just don’t have it in me and I’m pretty sure (no offense) that most people aren’t like that other. But to be able to have a positive effect on someone, whether it be your sister, your boyfriend, or your student, that is one of the greatest rewards there is. Because many many years after you are gone, either from the earth or just from their memory, the effect you had on them will still linger. And maybe, they will do something wonderful, or just simply good, because of that.
Life is short. Many of us don’t realize it because we think, well, we’re young, we’ve got time. And yeah, for the most part, we do have time. But it’s no guarantee. My close friend’s brother-in-law passed away recently. He was not that much older than me. Can you imagine that? He was a little sick but no one thought it was that bad and though it’s a tragedy, from what I hear, he was a great brother, son, and friend. He touched people’s lives. He was a positive influence. So while he is no longer with us, here, physically, he’ll remain a part of everyone whose lives he touched. I like to think that if I were to pass away tomorrow, I will have left some kind of positive mark on someone, even if it’s just some rando on the street. Like maybe that quarter I gave to the guy playing the guitar on the street was the last bit of money he needed to pull his life together? That’d be pretty awesome.
But enough with the heavy stuff. The question remains, am I a creep for googling (though I didn’t spend more than 5 mins) someone I knew for maybe 2 years, many many years ago? And does it make me even creepier for emailing said person thanking him “so so much” for being an amazing teacher?
I guess we’ll find out because if he doesn’t email back/I am issued a restraining order… well I guess that makes me a creep. Like this: