Wednesday, March 4, 2015

To Teach is to Touch a Life 4 Ever!

There's an old cliche  "to teach is to touch a life 4 ever" .  I know this is true!
Not because I feel that I have had the honor of making that kind of impact but because that kind of teacher made an impact on my son's life.
Trent was one of those students that had a good heart but wouldn't always let other's see this.  Life at school was  a struggle and he was often misunderstood.  He definitely wasn't an angel and when he got in trouble which was often (every other day)  he usually deserved the punishment.  He often refused to do his work.  Reading and writing were a struggle.  He had a low self esteem which lead to being overly defensive amongst peers or teachers. 
Teachers were determined to be the one to make the difference and would often throw their hands up in frustration when they couldn't seem to "crack the code". 
All except one teacher in middle school.  She wasn't trying to "crack the code" instead appreciated his strengths and understood that he needed to feel that someone was in his corner.  Her name is Mrs. Cordier and she teaches art.  She expected him to complete assignments but let him express his interests through art.  He sketched, painted, sculpted  and crafted everything into snowmobiles, four wheelers, tractors, semis, and pickups.  Most importantly she got to know him as a not just a student but a boy that had a lot of talents, just not talents that could be appreciated in a classroom.  Mrs. Cordier could empathize with Trent's academic and emotional struggles.  She realized that the only way to make an impact on a student's learning is to create a safe environment.
Unfortunately my son passed away before he graduated from high school but Mrs. Cordier's impact on his life was truly 4 ever and I will always be grateful for that and for not making me feel like an inferior parent. 
Trent's art pieces that he created are some of our most valuable treasures that we have today that remind us of the good times with him. 
Trent learned a lot in his art class during his middle school years but I think I learned more than he did.


  1. Whether you are writing about your nasty cold or your treasured memories, your writing grabs my attention and doesn't let go. Yesterday your words made me cringe away from the sneezes and coughs but today your words brought a lump to my throat. I often think that my students teach me as much as I teach them. May we all make an impact on someone someday.

  2. Kids are not a code, and that is what we have to remember. Kids are people who have interests and talents that may not be what we are teaching at the moment, but we need to remember to teach the child, not just the curriculum. What a tribute to a teacher who made such a difference in your life and that of your child.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your reflections and wisdom. When I first read your words about struggling to crack the code, I thought YES! I am all year trying to figure out how to get a few students to participate, to behave, to try. But as I read on realized the truth and the point you were really making. And this is what I struggle with sometimes. Finding something to love and appreciate in each child, even the ones who resist, disrespect, and just genuinely don't like me or school. Thank for helping me stay conscious of this goal.

  4. Fighting back the tears on this one. That was a beautiful truth you painted in this slice. It really does matter. When we create that safe environment for kids they flourish.