This is one of my favorite posts from Spring 2012! Have you ever held on to a student's assignment and then returned it years later?
Over the weekend I lined up for Chris Spielman's autograph with at least 350 fans who purchased his new book, That's Why I'm Here: The Chris & Stefanie Spielman Story. I was number 201 and waited two and a half hours listening to all of these men around me (spoiler alert!) talk about how good the book was.
But the time spent in that line was nothing compared to the 25 years I have been waiting to return a homework assignment Chris Spielman completed at Washington High School. I replaced a retiring Family and Consumer Sciences teacher in 1987 and she saved everything! I found a folder of graded resumes and decided to show them as examples to my students learning about employment skills. One student could hardly contain himself.. "Look, this is Chris Spielman's resume!". I got the class back on task and collected the resumes, returned them to the folder and back in the file drawer. Next semester I repeated the lesson, handed out the examples and another student said the same thing. Having lived through my first football season and the traditions in Massillon that year, I figured that Chris must have been a pretty good player. I mean, the kids were still talking about him! Little did I know that he had been playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes and later joined the NFL. Eventually, I got with the program and started holding up Chris's resume, sometimes walking up and down the isles for the students to glance at this prestigious document.
I left that job twelve years ago and the folder was stored in my basement until last weekend. Several times I've attempted to give the resume back to Chris. I am glad I finally got the chance to return it in person.
There were so many parts of his high school resume that emulated his personal and professional life; being the captain of athletic teams, excelling academically, working with children, and admiring the coaching staff by listing them as references. As teachers, we never know, out of the hundreds of students we meet during our career, which ones will reach their goals as life's rewards and disappointments intercept their hopes and dreams.
Hopefully, e-books won't replace printed books in the future. Otherwise, how will we experience book signings? I mentioned that my sister had just completed her final chemo treatment for breast cancer. Chris took the time to write her a message of encouragement. That gesture deserves an A+.