I never wanted to be a fireman. When adults asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up my answer was "lots of different things". I knew my dad's janitor supply business was never going to be part of the mix.
Then in the seventh grade Mrs. Kraft figured me out. She assigned Halloween stories. Mine was about me going out and stealing little kid's candy bags. (something that had happened to me three years earlier in front of a girl in my class.) I guess there were some lingering anger issues.
After reading my piece, Mrs. Kraft had me stand up and listen while she told me in front of the whole class that the world was not against me. Then she ordered me to sit down and not leave until I produced an appropriate assignment. I was embarrassed and furious and sat there until the class ended. She would not budge. Finally I wrote a Halloween poem, turned it in and left.
Did she know I was going through a paranoid period where I actually thought everyone but one person hated me? Or was she merely disgusted with my work? Whatever her reasons, the cure worked. It was several years before I realized that after that day, my paranoia vanished forever. By then the decision to become a teacher had been made.
I knocked on Mrs Kraft's classroom door at Post Junior High when I became a teacher. It had been many years since she had me in her class but I wanted to let her know how much learning from her had influenced me. She remembered my name! I couldn't hold back tears and neither could she. Sharing with her how important she was in molding my life ranks as one of my proudest moments.
Causes Don Surath Supports
Alzheimers Association, Jewish Home of San Francisco, Foundation for Osteoporosis Research and Education, American Bone Health, American Diabetes...