You most want to be like the person you most admire. That is why, ever since 1963 when I had Mr. Rieur for the sixth grade I have wanted to be a teacher.
His classroom was unlike any other I’d seen before; across the inner wall were terrariums and fish tanks. In the back was a cabinet with his lab equipment and chemical supplies. The ledge by the window was lined with books.
He taught geography with slides and stories of his adventures visiting the places in our syllabus. We saw him standing at the Parthenon as it appeared in our book and then he showed us what Athens looked like from that spot. He taught how to live in the world and love its inhabitants.
We constructed the various types of fire extinguishers described in our science text. Then we used them to put out the fires we would set in the trash can behind the school. Our English assignment was to write a report about the experience.
It seemed like everything was connected to everything else and learning how things worked was fun; about the most fun you could imagine.
Since that time I’ve felt I couldn’t just live a life but I also had to pay attention; not because in the end there will be a test but because someday I’ll be called upon to teach others.
Those who can do, please teach.
P. S. On September 29, 2007, Mr. Rieur celebrates his 90th birthday. Please wish him well.