Lessons Learned

When I was in Grade 8, I had a wonderful teacher. Everyone knew her as Ms. B.

As one does, we all thought we were so smart then. I knew something was special about Ms. B., but it wasn’t until recently that I began to realize how much of a positive influence she had in my life and the lives of her students.

(Almost) everywhere I turn to nowadays, I hear her whispers of wisdom and intelligence to me. It applies in my working life, in my personal life — it permeates every aspect of it.

How did she know this? How did she know that these lessons were THE most important thing?

Of course, we learned the usual school-based curriculum, but it was the other things she chose to teach us that has made lasting impressions. Below is a list of things she imbued in us:

  • On living “Carpe Diem
  • On being “well-rounded
  • Being thought of and treated us like “young adults” rather than just “kids”
  • In using and applying the “scientific method
  • Being “Phenomenal“!
  • Understanding what the Stock Market is and participating in it (via a competition in a local newspaper)
  • On character and specifically being someone that upholds Integrity
  • Taking “calculated risks” in life

There were many more, but too long to list today. Perhaps the most important one is that she personally guided me to be a more courageous communicator.

We had to do speech competitions. That year when I was in Grade 8, I did a speech on the “internet”. This was back in the mid-90s. She nominated me to represent our class in the school-wide competition. (I won 2nd place.) I remember there was a specific time that she coached me to speak up. She encouraged me to not be afraid to raise my hand, to ask and answer questions.

It was sad to learn a few years later (when I was in high school) that she had passed away from breast cancer.

I’m raising my hand for you Ms. B.