Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Barnes Bad News Bears

My first year teaching was the hardest year of my life.  I only had 16 students, but 15 began my class below grade level in reading and math.  I cried every afternoon of my first week (and many other too).  I often thought I had been cursed with "Barnes Bad News Bears."

My only sanity that year was my mentor teacher.  Glenda was a veteran teacher who had come back to work after her grown son left for college.  She worked half days teaching early intervention because she had strained vocal cords and couldn't speak all day long.  She spent her entire time at school in my classroom because my entire class qualified for early intervention services.  Glenda was unique.  She didn't need to work.  She and her husband lived comfortably (or slightly above) without her paycheck.  However, she chose to take her strengths and help others.

My final year teaching, Glenda resigned mid-year because she was diagnosed with cancer.  She and her husband packed up and moved to Seattle, where the leading cancer specialists were located.  Glenda and I swapped letters over the past three years.  Before I left for Hawaii, I received a Christmas card/letter from Glenda's husband.  He explained that the past year had been wonderful.  Although Glenda was still battling health related issues, they had spent the year traveling together.  Her son had traveled multiple times from Florida to Washington to visit.  There was a family picture included too.  Glenda looked so happy.

Today, I returned from Hawaii and was greeted with a message from another former teacher.  She left the news that Glenda died a week ago.  I'll admit that I'm shocked how hard this news has hit me.  Glenda was honestly an amazing woman who portrayed exactly what every teacher should...a true love for her job and concern for every child she taught.
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  1. i'm so sorry that you had to hear the shocking news right when you got home.

  2. Beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman. I am so sorry for your loss. Sounds like you will always have her memory to inspire you and other teachers!