There is only one direction a trampled tutu skirt can move. Up. While some teachers dump you in the desert, others place you on the tip of the mountain because there is no other place they want their students to be. Now and then, I reminisce about my middle school drama teacher. He was a positive and energetic guy, a man who was doing what he was born to do. Teach.
My memory of him is how he lifted his students higher and respected the individuality of each person. This exceptional quality of his came through when I didn't get what I hoped for in the school play my eighth-grade year. The play was The Mouse That Roared, and I tried out hoping to get a role. My last chance at stardom! I had many very talented classmates, so it shouldn't have been a surprise to me that I didn't get a big part. Disappointment set in nevertheless. Until my teacher pulled me aside and said,
Marie, I didn't give you a role in the play because I want you to be my assistant director. I think you'll be good at it. There is also a character who runs on the stage during a scene and yells, "Hear me roar." I'd like you to do that too.
Even though I spent many adolescent years pretending I was an actress, I wasn't cut out for school plays. This man refrained from the drama of making me feel not good enough and believed in me by acknowledging my strength and how it could contribute to the play. I still laugh today of how I ran on stage boisterously, saying, Hear me roar!. A comically memorable moment in time. Who can forget her three words of fame? Who can forget feeling worthy? Who can forget the teachers that lift them higher?
Unfortunately, I never had the chance to thank him for being a positive role model. High school was around the corner, college; he moved, I moved. Our paths didn't reconnect, and when I heard he had passed away (too young), my heart dropped a few beats. I wish I had the chance to let him know of his little act done with great love. Maybe he hears me now. Perhaps it's never too late.
Bless the work of the teacher. Send them the strength to persevere during long days and difficult years. Help them teach with love and recognize the worth of character in each student. Thank you for the teachers who have had a positive impact on my life, creating memorable moments of joy that last a lifetime.