I wrote before about one teacher who forever touched my life. Mr. Aiken was kind of a lousy teacher but he was an important figure in my life. Mr. Righter was a teacher of mine in 7th and 8th grade and then saved my sorry butt later when I got kicked out of a class in 12th grade and had too many study halls for my schedule. He let me come to his class and co-teach with him. I worked with the 8th and 9th grade kids on their writing, English and life skills. The oh so cool thing about that was the kids who remembered me. I'm facebook friends with two of them - and they sought me out. Very cool.
I had two teachers in my interpreting classes that made a difference in my life. Nancy DeKorte Sullivan and Eve West taught me things I didn't realize I needed to know. I hear their voices in my head sometimes during challenging interpreting situations.
I didn't think I'd have the opportunity to be influenced by a teacher again. Oh, was I wrong. One of my daughters, M, has had struggles with her teachers year after year. Last year, in fourth grade, I was fully prepared for the yearly lecture I heard during parent-teacher conferences: M is smart but here's everything that's wrong with her (insert very long list here). But this teacher didn't do that. It started like this: "M is my favorite student". I have no idea what she said after that because I started to cry. Really.
She helped both girls through the changes in our family. She made M feel special when no one else could. She made me feel like I wasn't fucking my family up when I was sure I was. And she did it all with a smile. I love her. It's an interesting feeling to be influenced by this awesome teacher who I'm pretty sure is younger than me. Humbling might be a better word. Grateful is probably most accurate.