Because of the amazing power of email, and social media, I can respond to a news item I just read about a tragic accident. Last night, one of my most revered high school teachers, the one who would not let me BS my way through intro to psychology, was hit and killed by a car.
According to the local news report, the driver was not speeding or drunk. But I'm sure that person is hurting. The more they learn about the person they inadvertently killed, the worse it will get for them.
Sr. Virginia was demanding. My friends who had her for English, German or any other subject were in her class because they were the smartest ones in our class. She knew how smart each of her students were. She also knew the difference between confusion and laziness. She recognized that teenage hormones and social demands were challenging - but not in her class room. She knew how to keep us focused on work, not boyfriends.
She was like a mirror to me. She reflected the parts of me that I wanted to ignore; to explain away. Kind of the way one exhales when they see their paunchy stomach in the dreaded three way mirror of the department store changing room. She didn't coddle me. She protected me from myself.
In college, I thought of Sr. Virginia's critical review. When I would read drafts with her eyes, I would end up turning in work that would reflect my best effort; not what I needed to do to get by. She helped me define my standards. I think of her when my standards get the best of my nerves. When I start over-editing, I hear her saying, "... Just start writing. Get the thoughts out, and then shape them."
And while we're at it. I'm thinking of making a special donation to my alma mater high school. After all, it's those teachers that saved me when I needed it most.