Monday, June 28, 2010

Thank You Mr. Kauzer

Even as adults, decades later, we remember vividly the teachers who scared us, frustrated us, even humiliated us. Unfortunately, all of us can probably remember at least one of those teachers. For every one of those, however, is a teacher who stands out positively in our memory: a teacher who made us want to come to school every day to learn.
Last fall, I found a Facebook page for my former elementary school Twin Creeks, in San Ramon CA. Feeling a bit nostalgic, as I have lost touch with every one of my former classmates due to our family move in 9th grade, I posted an answer to the question: Who was your favorite teacher at Twin Creeks? I wrote excitedly about one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Kauzer, who I was lucky enough to have as my 4th grade teacher and again as my 6th grade teacher.   Mr. Kauzer made school fun..he made it a safe place to learn, a cool place to practice guided visualization for relaxation and an autonomous haven where I could work at my own pace in many learning arenas. I think he even let us make forts under our desks! Hey, it was the early 70's after all.
A few months ago I was contacted by a classmate, Karen, who had Mr. Kauzer the following year. She was happy to reminisce as we messaged back and forth about him and other teachers we had at our little school of portable buildings. We talked about our siblings and classmates we might remember!
This week, I was thrilled to see a message on my Facebook message page, from the one and only Mr. Kauzer. I was taken aback by my intensely emotional reaction: "He remembered me!" I thought gleefully to myself, suddenly transformed back to the 12 year old girl who last saw him at the end of 6th grade. I felt a surge of happiness as I read his message. He really did remember me! I was thrilled to discover that he is teaching, still inspiring kids, though now teaching high school math!
It might seem cliche to others, but I am overwhelmed by the incredible power we have as teachers. I will be "over the moon" with joy to reconnect with former students when they are adults! It's been many years, over 30 (but who's counting), since I last saw Mr. Kauzer. I know that one day when we connect in person, I will immediately recognize him by his warmth and unmistakable smile. He thinks it might be fun to visit my 4th grade class when he retires and I am going to hold him to that idea!

Thank you Mr. Kauzer. Teachers like you have helped me become the teacher I am and the one I'm still striving to be.


Deven Black said...

How wonderful that you were able to reconnect with your former teacher and how wonderful for him that he gets to see who you have grown up to be.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joan!
What a beautiful post - so moving and what a wonderful idea to have Mr. Kauzer in your class, teaching with you the next academic year!
It is amazing how some teachers leave an indelible mark on us. We remember them for the rest of our life - how beautiful is that?
Thank you Joan and have a great summer!
Kindest regards,

Joan Young (aka Mancini) said...

Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments! I am thrilled at the thought of teaching for a day together with him :-) It's amazing how powerful it is to reconnect. Thanks again.