A few months ago, my dad emailed me to say he'd had an unexpected visitor at work. This person was none other than a teacher I'd student taught with oh so many years ago. This teacher (who shall remain nameless) described to my dad of the remorse that had plagued this teacher after I'd finished my student teaching because there had never been any recognition of the work I'd accomplished under this teacher's guidance. Nor had there been any kind of send off after my student teaching was finished. Therefore, this teacher had set out to remedy this situation by coming to visit my dad at work to give dad two books that this teacher selected for me. By the way, this teacher is now retired and is living in Montana.
Needless to say, I was completely shocked and surprised at such a revelation. This teacher had always been extremely nice and jovial during my student teaching stint and though I did notice the lack of any congratulations on my finishing student teaching, it didn't really bother me. So to know that this teacher has carried around these regrets for the last eight years is astounding. Dad said when the books were handed over to him by the teacher, with the promise that they would get to me, visible relief washed over the teacher's face. I asked my dad what books they were, and he said a teacher's blessing book and a journal. Hmmmm.
In the middle of September, my parents were in DC for the Values Voter Summit (co-sponsored by FRC Action and Focus on the Family Action) so we got to see them briefly. My dad handed me the books given to him and there was a small book of prayers for teachers (a nice leather-bound edition) and a blank journal with a small, fake white flower on the front. There were no lines in the journal--just blank pages. "Isn't that nice?" I thought, while reminiscing about my student teaching with my family. I couldn't believe this teacher had felt so bad as to bring these to my dad while vacationing back in CO from the retired life in Montana. While we were still chatting, I flipped through the journal. There, in the middle, I found a page that had writing on it. Oh, an inscription, I thought? Looking closely, I realized that this inscription was written not to me, but to this other teacher. It was a personal sentiment from another colleague on the occasion of this teacher's marriage. "God bless you both as you emark on the journey of marriage together, congratulations, etc" for a whole page. I couldn't believe it! My family couldn't believe it. Why in the world would one feel so bad about not recognizing a graduating student teacher that they would carry guilt around for eight years, only to give me a used journal? I am still baffled by the entire situation. Of course, I am grateful that this teacher would think of me so kindly after such a long time...but a used journal? I don't get it.