when i was in school, i was a total nerd. i own that. i still had fun and had great friends, but i cared a lot about school. and i enjoyed it. yep, i was that kid that liked school. that’s one of the reasons why i wanted to be a teacher.
so in high school, i had this social studies teacher. mr. thomason. he was an old hippie, first and foremost. he would sit in a chair at the front of the room and lecture all class. today, he would be criticized for that, but we loved it. he would just tell us history in the form of stories. i took spirals full of notes. i was literally on the edge of my seat during each class. i fell in love with world history in his class. but i also fell in love with teaching. he was so charismatic and fun. he cared about us but he also wanted to have fun with us. during the last five minutes of class, he would pull out a stack of trivial pursuit game cards and ask us questions. or he would read articles to us from “rolling stone” magazine.
he was just plain cool.
he was memorable for being a great and entertaining teacher. but i also have another memory of him. he was my 2nd period teacher my senior year. at the end of my 1st period pre-cal class on a seemingly normal day in early september, a student rushed in and hurriedly told us about a plane crashing into the world trade center. then the bell rang.
confused, we made our way quietly and quickly to our 2nd period european history class with mr. thomason. he was sitting on a student desk in front of his classroom tv staring at the screen. we sat down and then watched the footage live. for once, mr. thomason was silent. for fifty minutes, we sat with him as he held a hand to his mouth in shock. then, he dropped his head when the towers fell. i saw him differently after that day. he was human. he wasn’t just my teacher. he was a man, an American, a concerned citizen.
i didn’t realize it then, but i do now…he taught me a lot about what it means to be a teacher.