Sometimes a Teacher, but Always a Student

Almost every day for one school year, I saw a boy fighting cancer. Maybe he wasn’t actually fighting cancer, maybe he was simply living with it and enduring it. My job was to be his one-on-one teacher. I don’t think I did my job very well; he didn’t like reading with me that much. He was a science and math kid, and I am a reading and history guy.

 

By Louis De Lauro

I saw a kind man jump out of his truck to save a turtle crossing the road.

It was dramatic and impressive. He ran to the turtle and stopped traffic and carried the turtle to safety.

This man taught me to cherish life—to be a protector and to be aware of my surroundings. These are good things to learn, I think.

I saw a kind woman teach children for 23 years. Well, I never really saw her because she taught across the hall, but I saw her through the eyes of her students, because I heard her students’ words daily and I saw their happy faces.

“She makes me laugh. She cares about my day. She makes learning fun!”

This woman taught me it’s important to make students laugh. She taught me to care for others each day. And she taught me to make my classroom a better place for students. These are good things to learn, I think.

Almost every day for one school year, I saw a boy fighting cancer. Maybe he wasn’t actually fighting cancer, maybe he was simply living with it and enduring it. My job was to be his one-on-one teacher. I don’t think I did my job very well; he didn’t like reading with me that much. He was a science and math kid, and I am a reading and history guy. But I did my best to teach him and maybe my companionship and positive way benefited him.

This boy taught me so much. He taught me to wonder about the stars and planets, and life’s mysteries. He taught me to listen and nod my head, and that we should face our own mortality with tears and a smile. We should cry, but also laugh. This boy taught me so much. It was a pleasure to learn from him.

I learned so many good things from the man, the woman, and the boy. Every day, I continue to learn so many good things from the people I see and meet.

If you are curious, I never saved a turtle, but I recently adopted an awesome five-year-old cat.

If you are curious, the teacher across the hall is still doing her thing. And although I don’t teach at the same school as her anymore; I recently learned she still a rock star teacher and she is inspiring new teachers who work across the hall.

If you are curious, the boy is alive and well!

And so am I!

I am alive and well because I’ve learned in this lifetime that I am always a student and only sometimes a teacher.

I have so much more to learn.

 

Photo: (source)

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

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Louis De Lauro

Featured Writer at The Tattooed Buddha
Louis De Lauro has taught elementary and middle school students for 27 years in NJ and PA. He is also a loving husband, dad, son, and friend. In April of 2017, his short story about his wife and daughter “Right from the Start” was published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Best Mom Ever.” Back in 2007, Louis was featured in the award-winning documentary “Juggling Life” about the charity he founded, Juggling Life Inc. The charity recruits and trains volunteers to teach juggling and chess at camps for children with cancer. In 2008, he was featured in a Star Ledger Series called “I Am New Jersey.” In 2011, Louis had four submissions published in the Pearson textbook, “Child and Adolescent Development” by Woolfolk and Perry. Louis enjoys writing about teaching, family, friendship, and Buddhism.
Louis De Lauro

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