My favorite class this year is a special topics writing and rhetoric class on sports writing. Last week we read a Michael Lewis piece called “Coach Fitz’s Management Theory.”
It’s somewhat of a personal essay about his high school baseball coach. He opens “A few people, and a few experiences, simply refuse to be trivialized by time. There are teachers with a rare ability to enter a child’s mind; it’s as if their ability to get there at all gives them the right to stay forever.” He continues to tell of his coach, who was so much more than that.
I had to read, analyze and lead a discussion on the piece. In doing so, I thought about whom this person was in my life, and I easily and indisputably concluded it was you.
You gave lessons on writing, layout, ethics and AP style, which have truly been helpful and given me an incredible head start working for the college paper. But the lessons that have resonated more than anything are life lessons — of potential, priorities and perspective.
To be as brief as possible, you knew where my potential was and gave me an earful for anything less. You understood life priorities, which can get so mixed up in high school and as I’ve found in college as well. There were times I’d get worked up, and you’d slap me in the face — metaphorically — and put things back in perspective.
I’m so grateful for these lessons and for the person who taught me them. I know you continue to teach and that all the students who have been in your classroom are lucky.
If you’re interested in the piece, it is lengthy but worth it. Here is the link.
I also sent a copy of this e-mail (without this line) to Principal Man, so the big man knows how wonderful you are.
All the best,
Class of 2009