September 11, 2007

September 11 was an emotional day over here.

We celebrated Mark’s birthdaymark's birthday

cakewith a cake decorated by Zoe and Lucy. (OK, so I poked in the candles.)

Zoe got her first visit from the tooth fairy.zoe no tooth

I remembered the day 4 years ago when I left the Betty Ford breast center in a daze.

And then we got a call from my sister.

Jimjim, my humble and amazing brother-in-law, was given the title “Teacher of the Year” from the high school at which he teaches in Atlanta. Jim had received the well-earned accolade at the school he left three years ago, but this time it came with something a bit different. A NEW CAR. This may seem like a strange thing, but apparently the Ford dealership near his school had taken a look at the faculty parking lots that dot the country and decided that a “Focus on Education” initiative was in order. Brilliant.

And, Jim’s commitment to lending his bright mind to education (and giving Becki the chance to stay home with the kids) rather than a more lucrative endeavor has left him commuting in a 1990 Honda. I remember when the Honda’s air conditioning went out and Jim commuted to and from work and graduate school in the Southern heat with the windows down and the diesel smoke in his face for quite a while before they could spring for the repair. I wonder if Jim’s consistent arrival at school well before the morning bell might have the added benefit of keeping the students from seeing their respected teacher puttering into the parking lot in a heap of metal. Cringingly Election-esque.

My excitement about Jim’s award is not just the fittingness of a new car for the family that needs it; it’s the joy of having something so right happen in the world. Jim is the kind of teacher you want your kid to have. He truly believes that different kids have different learning styles. When he gives a writing assignment, he writes it too. He is unassuming, but commands his classroom with ease. He respects his students. He’s passionate about learning. He doesn’t give assignments that he can’t back up with good educational theory. Am I laying it on too thick?

No. Really. I’m not.

But Jim is going to find this terribly embarrassing anyway.

Congratulations, Jim. The Northern contingent of your family could not be more proud. And public embarrassment is what we do best.

3 thoughts on “September 11, 2007

  1. Wow, Tash, lots of great news! Happy Birthday to Mark. Congratulations to Zoe on the loss of her first tooth. And congratulations to Jim on the well-deserved award. Thanks for sharing these proud moments with us.

  2. With a family full of educators in my midst (literally) I am so happy for Jim!

    Teachers never seem to get what they really deserve financially or supportively from society.. I am so glad that I now know of one who has! Congrats!

    Mark? A birthday? Hope it was Happy Happy !

    And Miss Zoe, I just knew if you kept on a-wigglin that tooth that the tooth fairy was not far behind! Great Job!

  3. Oh, Tash, thank you.

    Though this analogy is inappropriate in a number of ways, I’m viewing the car as something like God’s grace: I don’t deserve it, I can’t live up to it, and I’m not giving it back.

    It has been nice to be honored, especially here, in a blog that delights us nonstop, but I’m not such a big deal as one who came before me:

    http://www.ncte.org/groups/cee/featuredinfo/127650.htm

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