Growing up in my dads classroom was awesome, he taught 2nd and 3rd grade for 35+ years in West Contra Costa Unified School District. I can remember visiting his class when I was younger than his 2nd graders, thinking they were so big and cool! I also thought my dad was super cool - a teacher, in charge of these twenty kids each year. Talking with them, molding them, modeling for them, teaching them violin, being an all around role model really.
Many of the students in my dads class had pretty rough home lives. Only one parent at home, no parents at home, jail - I can remember him telling me the stories. Being a teacher is like being a dad sometimes. I even feel like I'm a mom sometimes at school, I'm pretty sure my dad played that role for his students all those years!
There's no doubt that I'm in education today because of the influence my dad had on me. My dad has been gone four years now, he's already missed so much over that time, but just last week is when it's really starting to be real.
The crazy thing is that I called my dad every single morning on my way to school. He was usually at home and hadn't left yet, but we'd talk about school, lessons, colleagues, kids, current events, politics and of course traveling.
I think it really hit me this week because I have quite a few really big things happening in my professional life right now (I can't announce some of them yet) and he's not here for me to tell him. My mom is my other best friend and lives only eight minutes away from me, but for some reason it isn't the same talking about my educational accomplishments.
My dad would understand - he was an award winning teacher himself. My dad was awarded the Warren Eukel Teacher Trust award in 2000 which is a pretty big deal in the Bay Area. He was always the best celebrator too! Whenever something awesome happened to myself or one of my brothers, he was there with flowers, balloons, a new laptop, pizza, coffee, a flight to Ireland, anything that would make us feel special!
Cancer really sucks, my dad fought for five years and it finally took his life. All I can say is that I'm the husband, father and educator I am today because of him. I may not blog enough, respond to enough Tweets, chime in on Voxer enough - it's because I'm focusing on being a husband and a father. Just hoping I can be as awesome as my dad was for me!
My dad had a sign on his classroom door that said - "Only Kind Words Allowed" Our Kids Deserve It message today is dedicated to my dad.
My dad and I hanging out in Dublin, Ireland!
Last photo with my dad in San Luis Obispo, he passed away two weeks later.