Teacher Professor

February 11, 2010

We ALL Live in a Yellow Submarine

Filed under: College information — Teacher Professor @ 9:14 am

One of my colleagues was just diagnosed with Lymphoma.  He started the semester with a swollen leg that bothered him and found out two weeks later.  We’re a department of 5, and to have one go missing leaves a big hole in the fabric of our work life. 

I just got to be part of one of the nicest tributes I’ve ever seen.  The students in the Elementary and Middle Grades cohorts- all 50 of them- were filmed singing “We all live in a Yellow Submarine” with the words changed in a line to tell him to get better, and then added on hand-lettered signs of phrases and things important to him.   A bunch lined up with letters that said “WHO DAT?” since he’s a Saints fan, and they performed a skit in which one of the students impersonated him and the other students pretended to completely misunderstand the math assignment- all loaded with “inside” jokes and his phrases. We all held up signs that included phrases that he says when he’s pretending he doesn’t know- teaching moments, in other words. 

I was so touched to be part of it, because it shows how much of a teacher this man is.  He’s not a large person, in body or in manner, but clearly, large in spirit.  He is incredibly self-deprecating, and yet, has earned the respect of so many.  So many students knowing his mannerisms, his phrases and his humor tells me that they knew him as a person, that he taught them not just love of a subject, but love for others. 

There’s an odd intimacy in work relationships.  You spend more time each day with these people than you do your own family, if you don’t count sleeping.  You work towards common goals.  You grouch together, help each other, and pull together.  They can drive you crazy; they can be fun to hang out with; and they remind you of why you chose to work in the field that you do.  You might tell them things that you haven’t told your husband/sister/mother.  And yet, there is an odd distance at the same time.   In these times of economic pinch, there is always a fear that you might not have your job for eternity.  Your family holds your heart, your time and your energy- and they are there through everything (or at least, that’s the promise).   Your family can see you cry.  People at work- well, that’s WORK.  Family is for play.  And yet, when a work colleague is gone, there is a hole.  The fun at work is less.  The jokes are quieter.  And the coffee is terrible!

Catch the video on You Tube

And get well soon, Wayne.  We miss you, and the yellow submarine is too quiet…

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