Throwback Thursday: A Mentor or Just a Nightmare was originally posted on June 26, 2017 and examines my subconscious reluctance to admit that I’m actually an adult and – dare I say – even a role model.
On Friday June 16th, my first sixth-grade class at Thornton-Donovan School in New Rochelle, NY, graduated from high school. Already an emotional day as they were the most talented, genial class I’ve ever taught, the tears really started flowing when one of the co-valedictorians gave his address. In it, he lauded a select number of teachers who exhibited a fearlessness in their teaching that enabled him to become the young adult who will pursue engineering at Cornell University in the fall.
And there I was sitting with the rest of the faculty as he closed his speech explaining how I had changed his life by teaching him how to write and how to take pride in the work he produced and how I had continued to push him to produce his best regardless of the circumstance.
As if that did not validate why I work so hard at what I do, the same student further honored me on Monday when he asked me to participate in his Eagle Scout Court of Honor. An Eagle Scout myself, I jumped at the chance to escort him to stage with his father (also an Eagle Scout). What I didn’t expect, however, were his closing remarks where he awarded me a mentor pin for pushing him to finish his Eagle project and attain Scouting’s highest rank.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – that it’s a pin, so who cares – but, to me, that pin stands as one of the most significant awards I’ve ever received. And, as I joked with my student afterwards, he had managed to make me cry twice in the span of four days after not one drop fell in our nearly-six-year relationship. [Read more…]