Sometimes it takes just one person to really change the course of your life. Sometimes it takes just one person to take the time to take you under their wing for you to succeed. When I first started taking classes at CSUN, I was a bit lost. I did not know how to write historically, I did not know what kind of history I really wanted to study, and I did not know how the system really worked. I was lucky though, my professors were awesome. Each taking a special interest in my studies. One professor in particular took the extra care to encourage me to apply for scholarship after scholarship, writing letters of recommendation, and I believe influencing some of the panels deciding who was awarded. Without his help, I would have struggled to pay for college. With his help, I finished, debt free.
Today, I received the History Department newsletter. It was a bittersweet read. My Master's teacher, Dr. Andrews has moved back to Colorado and is now a professor at the University of Colorado, Denver. This move thrills me, as he is now close, and maybe, just maybe, I can take one or two classes with him to meet the requirements to renew my teaching credential. Plus, he was a wonderful mentor and teacher. Bittersweet, because after being momentarily elated of this news, I read on the next page that my former professor, Dr. Gerald Prescott had died. So I am a little saddened at the loss of a great man, a great historian, and a great mentor. Because of Dr. Prescott, I learned to write, to view the history of the West differently, and I finished school. I am not sure he realized how many students he must have influenced, but I know that I was at least afforded the opportunity to tell him how great he was a few years back.
Both of these teachers are examples of what teachers should be. They remind me as to why I became a teacher, as to why I one day, would like to go back to my career. Everyone in their life should be so lucky to have had a wonderful mentor, let alone two. So in this week of Thanksgiving, I am thankful to these two men and the countless other teachers out there.