Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Heavy Heart

Today my heart is heavy. In fact, I'm having trouble concentrating on the many things I need to get done. My thoughts keep turning to my 9-year-old friend Sam. He died yesterday, 24 hours after going to the hospital with a severe headache. Completely unexpected...and so fast.

I taught Sam in my church kindergarten classroom. He was a different thinker. He often challenged me to see things from a completely different perspective. One of my favorite classroom memories: Sam pressing his ear against the wall. "How does the wall sound?" he asked me. I pressed my ear to the wall to listen to the classroom next door. Then Sam lay on the floor. "How does the floor sound?" he asked. I let Sam tell me instead of lying on the floor (since I would take lots of space and block the movement of other children in the room).

Sam left my classroom at the end of that year. But we stayed friends. When he would see me in the hallway, he would call out, "Hi Mr. Scott!" We sat together in children's choir (or sometimes we'd stand together). He often quoted movies to me, and I loved to hear him sing.

Sam's curiosity amazes me. He would ask questions about all kinds of things. Sometimes he would ask me the same question from week to week, I think to see if my answer would change. Often he would repeat my words (almost exactly) that I had said weeks before about a topic.

My friend Sam inspired me to think of new directions in my own life. I wondered about unusual thinkers like Sam in the school classroom. Sam had great teachers but I wondered about other boys and girls. My experiences with Sam made me want to help other boys and girls in their learning.

As you know, I made the jump to teaching full-time this year. I'm in a first grade classroom today partly because of Sam. I have a long way to go before I will be a good teacher for children like Sam and for all the kids. I have a couple of different thinkers in my classroom right now. And I am even more determined to be a better teacher to them...and to each child in my classroom.

Sam, I will miss your smile and your greeting. I will miss your questions and your observations. I will miss you. But I will never forget what you taught me. And I will try to pass that along to others - kids and teachers - as I work to be a good teacher.


13 comments:

  1. Oh, Scott, I am so sorry for your loss. It's true that we learn so much more from our students than they learn from us. I think the best way to honor him is to do exactly what you said in your post, to "try to pass that along to others - kids and teachers - as I work to be a good teacher". I'm sure he will be looking down upon you and smiling as you do just that.

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  2. I am so very sorry for your loss and my heart is breaking for Sam's family. I know from personal experience how hard it is to lose your child ~ suddenly and unexpectedly. It is a loss that can destroy even the strongest of people. They will need your support for a long time. Sharing your memories of Sam with them when they are ready will be one of the most important things you can do for Sam and his family. Those memories will be so precious to them as their life continues without their beautiful son. Please find a way to share your memories with them as the days, months, and years pass. God bless you and Sam and all who loved him!

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  3. My heart goes out to his family, his friends, his teachers, like you. I, too, will think of this next week and take time to live in those precious moments of how the wall sounds and how the floor sounds and imagining the many other discoveries Sam made. Thank you to him and to you for listening and sharing.

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  4. Dear Scott,

    Prayers are being sent for Sam's family, friends and teachers. Children teach us so much and the only thing we can do is pay it forward. Take comfort in your memories of Sam; sounds like you supported the best practice of allowing him to be an ACTIVE participant in his learning process. Take good care and thank you so much for your work with children and families!

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  5. Hugs to you, Scott. This is a lovely tribute to Sam and a beautiful memento for his parents.

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  6. mr. scott - I have never lost a child I taught but the idea startles me! I pray your heart will heal and your loving ministry to and with children continues to grow and bless the families you serve.

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  7. What a beautiful tribute to Sam. So sorry for your loss. Prayers to you and Sam's family.

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  8. So sorry to hear of this tragic loss. Our thoughts and Prayers are with you and Sam's dear family.

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  9. Losing a student, former or current, is very hard. Praying God will help you and his other teachers grieve. Also praying for the family during this tragic loss.

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  10. Scott, this is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your story of Sam with all of us who feel the pain that the McLeods are walking thru.

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  11. Scott,
    My heart is breaking for Danny, Glenna, and Noah too. This is a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing this. By the way, you are already a good teacher. I've seen you in action.
    Jo Lena

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  12. Your memory and tribute to Sam will live on in the hearts of all those who knew him. Your impact on this child and family's lives as a teacher is only outshone by your contribution as a human being.

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  13. So sorry to hear this Scott. You were clearly a very important influence in Sam's life too. Hugs to you.

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