Remembering Mr. Bole

A good friend of mine, the law professor, sent me a message yesterday morning letting me know that one of my favorite teachers had passed a way this week.

I received her message just before I was due to step into my annual evaluation.  I grimaced at the irony.

We were told during our pre-conference a couple of weeks ago that the focus of this year’s evaluation would be on what we are doing to impact/enhance/improve student achievement.  I’ve spent the last several days seriously reflecting on what it is I do on a daily basis that improves student achievement on my campuses and I was prepping for the conversation concerning this topic when I received the news about Mr. Bole.

And I got to thinking: What is it I do … what do I REALLY do … that impacts students?  What was it about being in Mr. Bole’s class that impacted me so much that he is in the honored position of being one of my favorite teachers?

Was he an exceptionally tough teacher? No, in fact his class was fairly easy.  Of course with Da being former law enforcement, I had an interest in the subject.

Can I remember a single lesson from that class? (It was Law Enforcement) No.  But I do remember falling through the hole in the floor of that stupid portable because I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking.

I don’t have single memories of Mr. Bole, but a whole collage of memories, both during and after high school when the law professor, a couple other friends and I would stop by his house in the evening just to visit with him and his wife.

I remember him, not for the subject that he taught us in school but for teaching us about being there for each other.  He was a relationship-builder.  He would talk with us, not to us.  We weren’t just students, but people.  He respected us and listened when we talked.

I gave a professional development a couple of weeks ago at one of my campuses and in the course of the training, I shared that I’ve had more success working with reluctant/resistant learners when I make the time to get to know them.  Learn their interests, let them talk about their relationships.  Once I’m able to develop a relationship (or rapport) with my students, they’re more willing to try.   I like to think I learned this philosophy from Mr. Bole.

I sent a message out through Facebook letting my high school classmates know about Mr. Bole’s passing and funeral.  A couple posted news of his passing on the public wall to share with other alumni.  It’s been sweet reading the messages everyone has been posting about Mr. Bole.

I lost touch with him during college.  Studies, sorority, mixers, marriage … all these took priority.  I’d think about him every so often during the years and wonder how he & his wife were doing.  If they were still living in the same house, if I even remembered how to get there.

I didn’t go to my high school reunion but Mr. Bole did.  I saw a few pictures of him with some of my classmates.  He looked happy.  Frail, but happy.  The law professor shared that she went to visit him this past Thanksgiving Break and that despite his being very sick, he still had a positive attitude.

I’m sorry I missed out on all the opportunities I had to visit with him.

Mr. Bole’s funeral is Monday.

May you rest in peace.

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