I'm taking a quick break from making copies, grading papers, and straightening my classroom to reflect on the life of a former student. Logan, a student I had in class two years ago, was killed in a car accident on Monday along with his father, Noah. I hate to admit when his name started circulating around the halls Tuesday morning, I couldn't put a face to his name because I've had at least twenty students named Logan in my 10 years as a teacher. A colleague raced to my room to share the news, and I grabbed a yearbook to put a face with his name. Instantly, my heart sank.
Two years ago, Logan was a typical 8th grade student who wasn't a huge fan of reading or writing, but man, did he make me laugh. Whenever he needed "redirection" he always responded with a smile and usually some sort of joke or sarcastic remark that made me laugh. Logan definitely added personality to my classroom that year.
This week, my current students are learning a reading strategy from Notice & Note by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst called "Tough Questions." Using this strategy, students look for tough questions characters in their novels ask and then think deeper as they ask what that question makes them wonder about. It's timely that we're studying this strategy in class this week. I wonder if Logan knew he only had two years of life left as he sat in my class day in and day out if he would've done anything differently. Did he take advantage of life and "carpe diem" as I picture Robin Williams whispering in the movie Dead Poets Society? Is he thankful that he took advantage of the time he had with his friends and family? Does he have any regrets? I would imagine Logan would say he has no regrets. He was someone who soaked in life, for sure.
Logan's death makes me think about my own life, my own kids, my own students (who I often refer to as "my kids" to in conversations with other people). If I knew I only had two more years of life, what would I do? What would I not do? I pray that this year I'd be a teacher who remembers Logan and aside from all the academic work and requirements we have in school, I hope that I soak in my students as much as I can. I hope they know they are loved and cared for, and that I want to see them be a SUCCESS.
It's true that we never know what day will be our last. Logan's memory lives on and I pray I'll remember that as this year continues.