Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. (Benjamin Franklin)
As high school students go, I was solid academically speaking. That said, science was definitely not my forte. I managed, but it was purely my work ethic that helped me through the very tough chemistry class of one Mrs. Patricia Mason during my days at Lafayette Central Catholic. She was a graceful woman and a terrific teacher with striking eyes and a sharp wit.
I realize that I am now 48 years old, but I can’t bring myself to call her by her first name all these years later. She will always be Mrs. Mason, I suppose. Mrs. Mason was an inspiring teacher, mainly because she was so genuinely interested in her subject matter. She was more about assisting us in discovering the world of science than she was imposing her will, as lesser educators sometimes will do. I remember her as kind, inspiring, and intelligent– and in that order too! She’s one of the folks during my school years whose lessons stayed with me, because her influence simply cannot be erased. She was patient but firm, and that combination was especially effective for me. I’m not going to lie, though. Chemistry was hard. The thing is, the degree of difficulty was high, yet nevertheless, I truly feel Mrs. Mason left the community at large a whole lot better than she found it.
In recent years, I have been following her life from afar via social media. It appears to me that she is enjoying her retirement quite a bit, and I’d be willing to bet she’s a beloved mother and grandma. She’s also making me want to visit Anguilla, ha?! Mrs. Mason is a Boilermaker fan as well as a woman of faith. If you know me at all, you’ll recognize those as two qualities I hold near and dear.
A couple years back, I was lamenting (well, whining really) about my son’s science fair predicament. It was my old high school chemistry teacher who noticed my post and sent me several challenging but fun ideas for him. I’ll be honest…I was ALL OUT of creativity by the time the last of my sons hit science fair age!! She couldn’t help herself. Once a teacher, always a teacher, I suppose. How thoughtful, am I right?
As I finish off my year of daily affirmations and gratefulness, it seemed important to me to acknowledge some of the great educators who have made a difference for others. I am a fairly prolific reader, and it was this quote (written by Lowell Milken) from this afternoon which had me searching my mind for the great teachers I have encountered so that I could choose one to honor today. “Good teachers are to education what education is to all other professions– the indispensable element, the sunlight and oxygen, the foundation on which everything else is built.”
She was the sunlight and the oxygen, indeed! Thank you for spending your professional life making a difference for young people, Mrs. Mason. I know I speak for many when I say most sincerely that I’M GRATEFUL!! Happy New Year to you and your entire family!!