Growing up, my dad was often in the hospital for kidney issues. Sometimes he would be in the local hospital and sometimes he would need to travel to a larger hospital for weeks at a time. One of those times happened during my fifth grade year. That year, I had a teacher named Mr. Reed. I guess the best word to describe him was “jolly.” He always had a smile and a joke to share (usually the really bad ones that make my own kids groan when I tell them). In addition to teaching, Mr. Reed directed the school musicals and often recruited students into the cast. He encouraged me to audition for the musical “Annie Get Your Gun” and I was cast as Little Jake. It was a wonderful experience and I would go on to be in several more musicals by the time I graduated high school.
As influential as Mr. Reed was as my teacher and director, he made an even bigger impact on my life that year. While my dad was in Grand Rapids (nearly two hours from my home), Mr. Reed and his wife (also a teacher at my school) opened up their home to me. I stayed with them for a week until my mom returned on the weekend from the hospital. Those were some hard times and I had a lot of emotions going on, not to mention the stress of staying with my fifth grade teacher! But somehow, Mr. Reed made me feel at home with his easy going nature and we got through that time. He always kept a business as usual manner (I was always very self-conscious about people knowing my dad was in the hospital) and rehearsals after school kept my mind off things.
It only lasted about a week, but things like that stick with you for a long time. I remember thinking that Mr. Reed’s house was much nicer than ours and that dinner time was much more formal. They also had cable and color TV (which was something we didn’t have at my house at the time). Ah, the things that stuck out in my 11 year old mind! Everyone liked Mr. Reed at school and he was a good role model for me both in and out of school. Many years later, I directed a high school musical performance of Grease in the district I taught in (and coached wrestling in) and invited Mr. Reed to attend one of the performances. That night, I finally had the opportunity to publicly recognize him and thank him for being such an inspiration to me.
I think all educators have that one teacher that they look back on with admiration for inspiring them to become a teacher and making them feel like they could accomplish anything they set their minds to. I’m not sure in fifth grade if I had made up my mind to become a teacher yet, but I do know that Mr. Reed helped me make up my mind as to what kind of man I wanted to be.
My first acting role as “Little Jake” in Annie Get Your Gun, directed by Mr. Reed
“I think a role model is a mentor – someone you see on a daily basis, and you learn from them.” – Denzel Washington
“We need role models who are going to break the mold.” – Carly Simon
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” – James Baldwin
- Monday, December 4: Celebrate Monday Assembly (Empathy) 9:05 AM
- Tuesday, December 5: Achievement Team Meeting (Kurtjian) 8:15 AM, Report Card Grades due in by 11:59 PM
- Wednesday, December 6: Mileage Club Planning Meeting (open to all) 8:20 AM
- Thursday, December 7: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM (Led by Achievement Team), The winners of the PTA Limo Ride will be picked up in front of school at 3:45 PM
- Friday, December 8: Report Cards go home
- Monday, December 11: Celebrate Monday Assembly (Empathy) 9:05 AM, Santa Shop Preview Day, Design Team Meeting 9:30-11:30 AM
- Tuesday, December 12: Achievement Team Meeting (Kaufman) 8:15 AM, Santa Shop
- Wednesday, December 13: Santa Shop, Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 PM
- Thursday, December 14: CLT Session 7:50-8:50 AM, Santa Shop, 3rd/4th Grade Christmas Concert & Santa Shop 6:00-8:00 PM
- Monday, December 18: Student of the Month Assembly (Empathy) 9:05 AM
- Thursday, December 21: Staff Breakfast/Gift Exchange 8:05 AM