A Tribute to a Great Teacher

 

I have been tremendously blessed by a number of teachers in my life. As I mentioned in my last post my High School Sophomore English teacher, Mr. Glenn Taylor, was one of the best.

Throughout most of my life I could read very well, but I just didn’t like to. Outside of sports books, I could never find anything worth reading (in my mind). Enter Mr. Taylor.

One day, after I gave him a book report on some lame book, he took me aside and began to ask me several questions. When we were through, he recommended three author’s books to me. First, he recommended “The Code of the Woosters” (P.G. Wodehouse) Mr. Taylor came to realize I liked humor and mystery and he got me hooked on Wodehouse’s character Jeeves and the mystery series.

The second author he recommended was Ian Fleming and “Casino Royale (James Bond Novels)” . He got to know me and knew this series would catch my fancy. It wasn’t long before I read all the James Bond books.

Lastly he recommended “The Source: A Novel” by James A. Michener

Needless to say, these books opened up a new world for me. I continued to explore and read, read, read. Fiction led to non-fiction and suddenly I could not stop reading.

Mr. Taylor did several things right that many leaders could learn from:

He took interest in me Yes, like so many great teachers (and leaders) he took a very personal interest in me personally and in helping me to grow.

He listened He took time to listen to me. He got to know me and understand my needs and dreams. He didn’t try to make me someone other than who I am, nor did he impose his tastes on me. He had both ears open and his mouth shut.

He started simply Mr. Taylor didn’t start me reading Shakespearean classics. He got me started at a level that met me where I was. It’s no surprise that he also introduced me to Hamlet and MacBeth, but he knew that if he started simply and where I was, the books would do the rest.

He followed up He didn’t let me slip back into the old ways. He challenged me, then followed up on my development. Two years later when I won a High School writing contest, there was Mr. Taylor to congratulate me. Years later I ran into him and his first question was, “What are you reading?”

Mr. Taylor was an exceptional teacher. I lost track of him and I regret that, but he left me a life-changiing legacy as well as some great leadership principles.

Who has had life-changing impact on your life? Is there someone who has taken personal interest in you and helping you grow?

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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