Sunday, May 8, 2011
A Tribute to My Mom, the Biology Teacher
My mom passed away in 2001, but not a day goes by that I don't think of her. My mom was a biology teacher, and now I am a biology teacher, too. My mom was an inspiration to so many people. We grew up in a very small, rural town in the deep south. Many of her students never dreamed they could attend college and have a different sort of life than the one they were accustomed to. She taught them that they "could" as well as teaching them biology.
I went back to my home town yesterday for my high school band reunion. I kept hearing two comments over and over: "You look just like your mother!" and "Your mother was the best teacher I ever had!" Both comments meant the world to me.
Growing up with my mother was quite the adventure! At a very young age, I was looking at pond water under a microscope and marveling at the creatures I saw there. I could spot liverworts and bladderworts growing so close to the ground in a swampy area that no one else would even know they existed there. She always had her wildflower books with her, and the car would come to a screeching halt whenever she spotted a potentially new wildflower along the road. The car also stopped for turtles. They simply had to be moved to the side of the road and out of harms way. She showed me touch-me-nots and explained how touching them caused the cells to lose turgor pressure and that was why the leaves folded up. Once on a family vacation to the beach, a dead sting ray washed up on shore. We dissected it! She took us fishing and canoeing and walking through the woods. I caught lightening bugs like all kids do, but I knew the how and why of their flashing.
I have two daughters. I have taken them on many of these same adventures. They can amaze their friends with all sorts of biological facts. They love going on nature walks with me. I thank my mother again for the closeness I share with my daughters. She passed a love of nature to me, and as I passed this on to my daughters, we formed a strong and unbreakable bond to one another.
What choice did I have but to become a biology teacher, too? I have now taught biology for 27 years. I sincerely hope that I have inspired some young mind along the way. Good luck to all my AP students who are taking the AP Biology exam tomorrow. Thanks, Mom. I love you.
PS - She was also an avid bird watcher. She loved hummingbirds best of all. Mom, this hummingbird is for you.