What an appropriate day to share my opinions of teachers and education. The first day of school.
Just this morning I received a Facebook communique from my eighth grade teacher. Eighth as in 8th grade Science teacher who not only taught me a lot about science (duh) but got through to me at a very tumultuous time in my young life.
My parents did not understand me (they did but I did not think so) and I was very rebellious. In comes a new teacher who is not only new to our school but it turns out we were his first “official class” after graduating from college. Ooooh, what an opportunity for a wise young punk and his friends.
Since he was new, he did not know my brothers and sister who had come before me, so this made him even MORE a clean slate for me to make an impression upon. He did not know them and since they were now in High School in a separate building about a mile apart, chances of him talking to them were minimal, so I was looking forward to his class.
This man, at 5’7” was not much taller than most us but he stood tall in our eyes from day one. News had spread fast and by the time I reached him at 6th period, we all knew we were in for a long school year. He was one tough fella.
Or so we thought, for about two weeks. By the third week we saw the real Bob Demarest and we LIKED it. He was fair, firm and treated us like the young adults. Not that we were really there yet so, maybe I should say he treated us with respect.
When we proved ourselves to be not worthy of that respect, we saw the fire in his eyes, he fell silent, we remembered the “original” Mr. Demarest and we all shut up. If the one who was creating the bad situation did not stop immediately, we all (almost as one) would admonish them to stop.
Treating us with respect and not just kids made a big impression on us at that age. One that we remember up to this day and from the loving comments I read from the whole range of students he taught during his career, we were just the start. He truly made a difference in many of us.
And what a golden opportunity Facebook has given us to be able to write to him to let him know how much he meant and means to us still today.