Under the Influence

I’ve been blessed / fortunate / lucky / privileged (pick your favorite adjective) to be influenced by some great leaders in my life. Over the next weeks I’ll be weaving in some stories and thank you posts about these people.

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Ms. Booth

Today I remember and thank Ms. Booth, my third grade teacher.

For years I considered her my favorite teacher (and she’s still in my top five).

She really had a positive impact on me.

She was kind and gentle.

She was calm and smart.

Perhaps, most importantly, was the fact that she believed in me.

She was a stickler for proper English. I do my best, but I’m quite certain she would have a field day if she checked my website posts.

She taught me how to say heigh(t) properly, not heigh(th).

It wasn’t until recently that I checked and learned that both are deemed acceptable.

The biggest single impact she had on me is something I’m sure she doesn’t even remember.

After coming in from recess, I correctly asked, “May I please go to the restroom?”

She looked at me, kindly smiled and said, “You may.”

If I would have asked, “Can I?” She would have said, “I’m pretty sure you can, but would you like to?”

I grabbed the hall pass and she said in front of the whole class, “…And Andy, quit yelling at that Eric kid.”

I nodded and went on my way to the restroom. I was absolutely mortified. I was caught.

I’d been yelling at Eric all recess to go blow his nose because he was getting boogers on us. I didn’t think anyone had seen me.

I realized that everyone deserved to be treated kindly. Everyone deserved to be treated the way Ms. Booth treated all the kids in our class.

It embarrassed me and changed me. I set out to show Ms. Booth that I could do that.

I’ve heard Ms. Booth is still at my old elementary school, Lake Youngs.

I’m sure she’s still kind and gentle.

I’m sure she’s still a stickler for proper English.

And most importantly, I’m sure she still believes in her students.

Thank you Ms. Booth.

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