Goodbye to a Great Teacher - Janet Nicholson Smith

It happened when I did not know it. It happened in the small moments. It happened slowly.  And I almost missed it.

I wasn’t looking for it. I was so focused on where my child’s life was going, I didn’t see where mine was headed.  There right in front of me was one of the greatest influences of where I am today.  And I almost missed it.

In the midst of a bright kindergarten class where my youngest conquered multiplication with ease yet struggled daily as his brain tried to tackle the mystery of this thing everyone called reading, I was the one learning the lessons. And I almost missed it. 

Here was a teacher, an observer of all moments in intricate detail that taught me what it means to Know The Child.  She taught me to capture complex dialogues, to dissect the complicated relationships, to explore unique learning strategies and to examine the in-depth educational challenges and triumphs of every child.  She knew that no detail was insignificant - the small gasps of  “Aha”, the giggles of insights and tears of frustration were not to be missed. And I almost missed it.

Those small moments, where with that big smile and twinkling blue eyes, she would tell me a detailed moment of my child’s life. At the class door, in the school hallway, at the grocery store, at the high school theater.  In those small moments, she wasn’t giving me details of my child’s life, she was giving my child the world.

In those small moments, I had a great teacher show me what education was about – it was about the details…and I almost missed it…But I didn’t it.  Today I stand in my own classroom, capturing those details, and remembering Janet’s twinkling eyes and bright smile and I know...I did not miss it.

Thanks, Janet for teaching me so much and for loving my child. 

You are missed.

Janet Nicholson Smith (1955-2013)