This week in particular, I look back and wonder who I might be if I had never met her, never had her in the early years of life, stoking what would become a life-long interest in so many things, including all things math.
I also think back to a retreat I ran some years ago for a group of school leaders, where I asked them to each write a letter of gratitude to the teacher who inspired them, who saw them as a person, who changed their understanding of the world. The letters were beautiful, powerful, and consistent. They each wrote about someone who ignited within them a love of learning, an appreciation for a subject, and a sense of being seen and valued as a person. And, each of them wrote about the powerful impact that had on their lives.
After 9/11, I decided to take two years away from the dotcom world and teach. I thought I would be giving back to this society that had offered so much to me. I had no idea what it would mean to care for students, and be responsible for their learning. While it was both an honor and a privilege, it also was an incredible challenge to be involved in the awakening and shaping of young hearts and minds. And to know that I also had a responsibility to look out for their wellbeing in so many other ways. What a trust we place, as parents and as a society, in those who we call teachers.
It is teacher appreciation week. I am humbled and awed by the work, the calling, the profession. I’ve never left it, and I’ve never forgotten Mrs. Kasmer.
Thank you to all of our teachers!