July 7, 2010 3:08am CST
When I entered high school my math teacher was an eccentric old guy from Germany. He had a habit of being a bit on the brusque side and before the first quarter was over, between my immaturity and insecurities and his eccentricities, I dropped his class. I was so furious with him, I couldn't even bring myself to talk to him about what was wrong. To this day I don't remember what exactly he did but I remember being extremely embarrassed, hurt and angry. I needed some math to graduate so the following year I enrolled in a different math class. When I arrived the first day, there he was...this teacher I had had such trouble with the year before. I got to class a few minutes early and he spotted me right away. He came up to me, sat in the desk next to me and told me he understood I had had trouble with him the year before and if I wanted to drop his class, he would sign the drop card without any problem. I told him no, I would stick it out. I came to respect and appreciate this man because he had taken the trouble to reach out to me and understand me a little. He was still as eccentric as ever but I was more mature and since there was that understanding between us, I was not offended by his oddities. After I was out of school, this teacher was transferred to the middle school. I remember thinking what was the school board thinking!!! If a high school freshman was too immature to handle this eccentric teacher, then middle schoolers would never be able to deal with him! Well, you guessed it. The middle school students all got upset, their parents got up in arms and he was forced into early retirement. It broke my heart. Many years passed and I often wished that I could have told him the thoughts of my heart about this travesty that had been foisted upon him by the school board. When my mother died, we buried her in Salt Lake City and were flying down from Alaska when I spotted this teacher on the plane. I approached him and reminded him of what our relationship had been like in school and expressed my appreciation for him and thanked him for his sensitivity to my sensitivities. I also told him of how I felt about the fiasco that he had gone through with the middle school. This odd little man looked up at me with tears in his eyes and told me, "You don't know what that means to me." I said yes, I did. I shook his hand warmly and went back to my seat. I have never seen him since that day and probably never will see him again but I will always be grateful that I had the opportunity to speak to him. This man helped to shape me and make me the person I am today. He wasn't central in that shaping but he was a part of it. Have you ever had someone like this in your life, who you had a real dislike for but it turned to respect and admiration? Have you had the chance to tell them and did you take that chance?
7 Jul 10
I didn't have any conflict with my professors so I don't have any experience like this. But I would like to applaud you for aprreciating your old teacher and letting him know that he was not a failure. I'm sure that made a huge impact to him
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