September 11 was an emotional day over here.
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.
Jim, my humble and amazing brother-in-law, was given the title â€œTeacher of the Yearâ€ 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 â€œFocus on Educationâ€ initiative was in order. Brilliant.
And, Jimâ€™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 Hondaâ€™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 Jimâ€™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 Jimâ€™s award is not just the fittingness of a new car for the family that needs it; itâ€™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. Heâ€™s passionate about learning. He doesnâ€™t give assignments that he canâ€™t back up with good educational theory. Am I laying it on too thick?
No. Really. Iâ€™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.