Teaching More than Just the Class

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Published on May 7, 2019

One teacher that has had a huge impact in my life as a student was my 12th grade psychology teacher, Mr. Wade. I will never forget the first day I went inside my class, and I saw a man who is in a wheelchair.  When I went inside, he turned and greeted me. He welcomed the whole class, saying that this is Magnet Psychology 111. I was excited to learn about the human mind, and the way we think and things like that, but I was more fascinated about how Mr. Wade went about teaching a class.

Mr. Wade and me (far right) and a close friend on our last day of class.

From the first day he told us about the accident he’d had and showed us exactly where it was in a Powerpoint. He was on a Milford beach, and there was a diving board where he, his friend, and his brother usually would jump off from. When he went up with his brother, his brother went first.  Mr. Wade jumped right after him, and when he jumped, he landed and crushed his spinal cord. He was paralyzed from the neck down and has a little stick, which he uses to move with the tip of his chin. He had an assistant that would help him with keeping things organized and grading. He showed us a picture of his wife. He showed us a picture of him in the hospital and told us how he ended up spending around 11 months inside intensive care.

Not only did his story have an effect in my life, it inspired me to always be thankful that I can use my hands, legs, and for having the ability to move. It made me truly appreciate my life.  I am fortunate to have had a teacher like Mr. Wade and his story, how strong of a man he is, and his sacrifices have made me believe that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

His teaching style was very hands on, and he would always encourage all of us to be the best we can and to have a good understanding of psychology. He always had a great big smile teaching his lectures and always made jokes about himself and his accident. He had a good sense of humor about his accident, and that is a good way to look at it. Mr. Wade took it slow for us to have a good understanding of what we were learning. The way he taught almost made it seem like he wasn’t even paralyzed.  The way he moved around the class and spoke to us about how we were feeling was something that not every teacher does.

Mr. Wade is a teacher that I will never forget, and I was very blessed to have him as my Psychology teacher. He never missed a day of school.  I never saw a day where he was upset. He brought so much great energy to the classroom and to me personally. He has taught me to be fortunate for what we have and appreciate it even if it is the smallest thing.