Ode to a Teacher

So it finally has dawned on me that this is not some weird practical joke.

An amazing man died this past week.

Alone in my car, I sang Seasons of Love from Rent for him.

How would we measure the life of such an amazing man?

Just like in the song, there is no better measure for him than love.

His love for life, volleyball, writing, drama, and teaching was something no one could miss.

He was someone that owned his permanent smile and wore it with pride.

He taught me what passion looked like and that it was not something to stifle for the sake of others.

Looking back, he showed me that I was not alone in my own love of writing at a pivotal time in my life.

During high school graduation, while he had not warned me before hand, he read one of my poems out loud for the audience. He did not do this maliciously, he did this because he believed and encouraged my writing.

He is a big reason why I am where I am right now.

His passion was not just for teaching but for learning. He did not stop at his education degree but was always looking for new volleyball drills, writing prompts, or thinking up his favourite movies and stories that he could turn into drama productions for the school.

Bringing new ideas into class and practice was his forte. I don’t know about his nerves or fears but he was always willing to try something and if it didn’t work, he moved on to the next new thing to try.

I admired his courage coming in to a new school to teach English and there was no shortage of complaints from typical high schoolers who thought they knew it all. That never seemed to phase him and he kept on learning and growing to be better at what he did.

There are so many things that I would have liked to say to him but I guess it is human nature to do this once someone is gone.

He taught me so much more than just what was on the curriculum and for that I can never thank him enough.

Thank you, Rick for giving so much of yourself to all your students.