You’re Not There

So I arrive on campus this morning, pretty pleased with myself because I actually did all my assigned reading for today, and I stroll into my first class. And when our 9:30 start time arrives and my faculty advisor walks in instead of my teacher I figure my professor is out sick for the day.

And then the advisor tells us that our professor will not be back. Because Dr. Morris died over the weekend.

And then I realize that I’m about to hear the same awful news in my next class, because he is the instructor in my next class too.

Dr. Morris was a lovely person; and he seemed far younger than his 83 years. He was still teaching into his eighties–it was what he loved to do. He had a brilliant mind and was well liked by all the students at the university, a university where the Professor had just commemorated 45 years of service.

Teachers come into our lives from the time we are young children, and we sometimes forget that they have lives that extend outside the classroom. It’s almost as if we think our teachers exist in some kind of vacuum, never to change, grow old, or die. I, for one, still have an image of my kindergarten teacher in my mind: she’s sort of preserved in that moment in my life. And in my naivete, I seem to ignore that she has grown and changed just as I have–just as all her students over the years have.

Many times we forget to thank them for the hard work they do and the personal sacrifices they make to serve as educators, mentors, advisors, and (sometimes) psychologists. Thank you, Dr. Morris. I’m sorry I didn’t have more time in your classroom, but I am grateful for the time I was able to benefit from your wisdom and knowledge.

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