I had to swing by the bank yesterday. I haven’t used this particular branch before, so I missed the turn.
[please try to contain your shock]
And so I had to circle around a Taco Bell [no, I didn’t purchase anything though I would SWEAR I heard the cinnamon twists calling my name, but I can’t be sure]. As I did, I saw an African American dude walk out of the restaurant. He looked dirty, he looked homeless, and he looked tired.
I watched as he crossed in front of me. He opened a plastic cup of sliced oranges and poured it into his mouth. Then as he walked by, he looked right at me. He stared at my eyes and I couldn’t help but begin to wonder about his life. How did he get here? Where was his mama? Where will he sleep? When will he eat again?
And who was his 3rd grade teacher?
A weird question, I know. But I looked at him and I saw his little self. I looked in his face and saw what he looked like when he sat in a desk, turned in his spelling test, and ran around on the playground.
It brought me to tears. Because I taught over 150 students in five years. And I remember all of their names [I’m kinda a freak like that]. And I bet they remember mine, cause kids always remember their teachers.
My 3rd grade teacher was Mrs. Albers. She knows how I turned out- I had lunch with her about 2 years ago. But I wonder if somewhere, that young man’s teacher sits at home tonight and is curious about him. I wonder if she pulls out that class picture and looks at each face, remembers handwritten notes and Christmas gifts, and daydreams about who her students became as adults.
Because kids don’t forget their teachers. And teachers don’t forget their kids.
I prayed for that guy there in the Taco Bell parking lot. I also prayed for my students. I prayed that they would use their minds [in which I poured knowledge, and a few jokes] to keep getting an education. That at every turn they would look to make the wise choice. That somehow they would remember my name and in some weird mindmap connection, that would remind them that they can be anything they want to be.
I hope my kids are okay. I wonder about them.
Your teachers probably wonder about you too, you know.
Who was your favorite teacher?
[And if you can, maybe now is a good time to contact that teacher and say thanks. Send a picture. Teachers love sentimental junk like that.]
Have a great weekend.