My second grade teacher quietly passed away two weeks ago. He had taken a personal health leave from my elementary school, where he inspired and nurtured first and second graders for the last 30 years. He had long battled depression, and apparently chose to end that battle. But as a student of his long ago, I would never have guessed he was unhappy. He always smiled in the classroom.
As students, specifically seven-year-olds, our teachers exist for us within the confines of the classroom. They spring into being with cheery smiles and a bounce in their step as we stow lunch boxes and head to morning meeting. They retreat again at 3 o’clock with the lines of carpooling parents and yellow school buses.