This week we read the short story, "Drenched in Light." I hope you guys liked it as much as I did, but this post is not about what we read (or did) in class this week. This post is about what we discussed. Prior to reading the story, you all were given an anticipation question that connected to the story in some way. The first group received the question that said, "Can money buy happiness?" A few of you agreed that money could buy happiness, but most of you knew the joy money could bring would be fleeting. If you weren't a happy person prior to getting the money, you probably never would be- pretty insightful of you guys to be so young. In discussing the issue, I told you guys that in my experience I had found that most people in a time of great wealth or sorrow were really just more of who they already were, and then I gave an example (as good teachers should, right?) I said, "Take Mr. Walther, for example. Right now he is facing one of the most difficult perils of his life, but do you know he has come to the school each weekend to leave a handwritten note on his dry erase board for his students to read on Monday? Even in his own affliction, he is thinking of others."
If you don't know, Mr. Walther has been teaching at Pace longer than I have been alive, which is crazy for me to consider. When my mother was changing my diapers, he was already talking supply and demand. I don't recall much about economics from college, but this I do know. When something becomes scarce it is wanted all the more, and we Patriots really want our dear friend back.
But for now, we are comforted by the notes at the dry erase board. This bloggist at the blackboard's weekly act of humility does not come as a great surprise to me. In his pain, he is only more of who he already is: a selfless man who wants to impart wisdom to his students, who wants to let them know what he would be telling them in class each day if he could, which is that they are loved, that they matter, and that he wants them to learn well. Guess what, Mr. Walther, they are...ironically, this might be the group who has learned the most from you even when they cannot see you on a daily basis. They are learning how to treasure each day, how to live in such a way that their presence may be known by their absence.
And your students aren't they only ones paying attention to your finest lecture. We are too, Mr. Walther. We all are. Thank you for the gift of you. You really are our Superman.
Here's something funny. I don't know why they call Mr. Walther Superman. My guess is that he looked like Clark Kent back in the day. I could be way off base with that guess, so if I am wrong anyway, I will create my own logic.
Tonight I asked my husband to tell me the story of Superman. He told me Superman came from a different planet as a baby. There was a big explosion, and his parents sent him to earth where he was very different from the humans there. On his home planet, he was normal, but here he had extraordinary powers. This reminded me of Mr. Walther.
He is the only teacher who has been at Pace for 40 years, and he truly is unlike anyone else. He runs sprints in the hallways before school each morning (for goodness sake), and then he tackles bleachers before eating breakfast in the cafeteria and reading the daily newspaper (not online...the actual newspaper). He lives like he doesn't have a care in the world. There are no frantic trips to the copy room or cranking out emails in a frenzy for Mr. Walther. He truly is the chill, in an otherwise, super chaotic world. I suspect this is how he has been able to teach for so long.
It might also be because he has refused to give in to the pressure of the latest, greatest educational trend. For instance, he doesn't know much about computers and doesn't give one iota because what he does have is a host of adoring fans, who will gladly keep him up to speed on what is happening on the world wide web and even assist him in staying employed without being technologically savvy. Who needs savvy when you have alliteration. He especially loves alliteration in a salutation. Have a terrific Tuesday, a fantastic Friday, or a wonderful Wednesday. In addition, he is the envy of the cinder block neighborhood, as he has an immutable hold over students regarding attendance. He really can get every kid to come to school. I still have no idea how he does it. Kid you not, I have seen students with tonsils the size of Texas hobbling down the hallway with oxygen tanks saying," Gotta get to Walther's class. I can't miss." In other words, he really is from another planet, another era, one I wish still existed.
Regarding other planets, I also learned a little about Krypton. Apparently, while on Krypton, Superman was immune to Kryptonite, but on earth, it could weaken him if he came in contact with it. A few weeks ago, our very own Superman came in contact with Kryptonite. Only on our planet we call it cancer. It weakened him pretty good, but from what I hear on September 11th, some really amazing doctors removed that vile mess from his brain. We know it may take some time, but we are all confident that very, very soon, we'll see the
man in the cape coming back to do what he does best- saving students and teachers from a world of turmoil. Thank you for being our superhero, Mr. Walther. There truly is none finer.
Have a Sensational Sunday,