We had the first round of Parent/Teacher Conferences this week. I had more parents come than I’ve had in a long time. I was busy the entire time. Many times, I’m catching up with colleagues and watching the clock. I spoke to parents of kids with As and parents of kids with Ns. At this point in my career, many of the parents are around my age. It does feel a bit different from when I first started. But there’s always something interesting that happens.
I was speaking with a mother of one of my 9th grade boys. We talked over how he was doing and various aspects of school. As our conversation about her son wound down, she says to me, “My husband wanted me to ask you a question. Are you related to the math teacher who used to teach here that almost cut off his toes with a chain saw?” I had to laugh. “Yes, that’s my dad.” She went on to say that her husband really liked my dad’s class and thought he was a great teacher.
I probably need to clarify the story because I’m sure you’re curious now. Back in about 1984 my dad was cutting wood in the back yard. The chain saw hit a knot in the wood and “jumped” and landed on his foot. It of course, cut through his shoe and most of the way through his big toe. In the shock of it all, he walked up to the house. He must have been clear-headed enough to make sure he walked around to the front to make sure he didn’t track blood in the house. He came through the garage and opened the door to the kitchen where he said, “I think I need to go to the hospital.” My dad ended up with his toe reattached. They used some kind of pin and a Black n Decker drill. I remember there being a little hook on the top of the pin sticking out of his toe. Because of the chain saw accident, my dad missed my brother’s confirmation and we still give him grief for his many mishaps that have occurred where he’s missed a particular milestone.
Since my dad retired in 1997, it has been awhile since I’ve had someone ask about him during conferences. It’s very nice to have someone fondly remember a teacher. Most of the time the teacher never hears about how they influenced a child and how that child grew up and still remembers them. I’m lucky that I get to hear about the impact my dad made on his students. And it’s even nicer that I can pass it on to him.