Thursday, April 24, 2008

Teacher Appreciation

I'm back from vacation, but my camera is still with Josh, who is still in SF for work until Friday. So, I'll wait to share some funny stories until I can pair them with pictures. It was great to catch up on everyone's blogs last night and to sleep in my own bed with my own pillow.

This past week was Teacher Appreciation week at school (or so I hear). The other day I was thinking about my elementary teachers, specifically my 6th grade homeroom teacher, Mrs. Perrin. She was a dear lady and was probably in her 50's when she taught me, so I wondered if I could track her down and say hello. I went to my elementary school's website and found that the other 6th grade teacher, Mr. Kuntz, was still teaching. He always reminded me of Mr. Rogers, but he had an energy about teaching and a passion for Social Studies and current events. I remember his favorite word was "brutal" as in, "it was a brutal, brutal war!". He really dug into the stories behind the history - like details about Rasputin and Czar Nicholas and his family. He was also my Math teacher (poor man), and started an "extra help" math class to help us get through integers. I'm not sure he was ever compensated for such a class, but I really appreciated it and never told him so. I wrote him a nice e-mail, telling him a little about me then and now, thanked him for his dedication as a teacher and asked about Mrs. Perrin. This is the reply I received this past week:

Amy, I am very pleased to have heard from you. Time does fly by quickly, and I do remember you quite vividly. There are still a few of us old farts at Elmcrest Elementary. We have Mr. Root, 62 (he was Cath's Kindergarten teacher!) ; Mr. Cappelli, 58; Mrs. Massa, 54; Mrs. Johnson, 54; Mrs. Dahlin, 58; Mrs. Nolan, 53; myself, 53. The remainder of the staff are in their twenties or thirties. I am very proud of you for entering the profession of education. As you know, it is not an easy career, but a necessary one. However, being a teacher can be a rewarding experience. By the way, what do you think of the worldly political climate? I am not a holy roller, but are we living in the times predicted from the Old Testament and New Testament? Once again, fighting is ongoing in Babylon (Iraq). However, as you know, it is now with American soldiers against different Moslem sects. Do you ever think that mankind will stop killing one and other and become a caring and humane race of beings? Today, at Elmcrest, there are many students who are very poor. A large percentage of their families have become unemployed or underemployed. Combine this with the cost of living spiraling out of control, and wages declining or remaining stagnate, life has become very difficult for these families. As a result, your elementary school now has an active food bank. Please continue to keep in touch with me. We as teachers do make a significant difference to our society. When you attend church, do not forget to pray for the children of the world, and this includes America's children as well. Too many of them continue to suffer on a daily basis. Finally, when you get back in the classroom, always remember that it is about the students!

Very sincerely yours,
Mr. Kuntz

PS If you ever get back this way, please visit me. I will take you
downtown and buy you a beer!!!!

That wasn't exactly the way that I remember him, but it was nice to hear back from him, nonetheless. I cannot imagine going to get a beer with any of my former teachers, even if I were a beer drinker, but it was a nice gesture nonetheless! So, if you haven't thanked your favorite teacher, you may want to think about doing it. It was really fun!


Shelese said...

That letter was awesome! You are so nice to email him. Looks like you made his day!

"pray for the children... buy you a beer!"

Cath said...

That is totally not how I remember Mr. Kuntz either! BAZZARO!!! Hey I wouldn't mind writing "toot toot for Mr. Root". Do you have his email address????

Tim said...

Great post, Ames. I remember Mr. Kuntz very well, as I had him for Social Studies. I still clearly recall the states and capitols memorization test I took from him and how you helped me to study for it (I aced it, by the way). Thanks for being so caring in writing to him. I should look up Mr. Reed one of these days.