CURTIS FINCH: Mrs. Foster makes a difference

March is national “Women’s History Month” in America.

Thirty years ago, one lady had an important impact on my life and that’s worth celebrating.

Since the inception of organized education, teachers have ranked in the top three groups of adults that students are most likely to trust, and today’s student are no different. In the beginning, most of America’s teachers were female.

Many of the female teachers in my life had a big impact on what I was going to eventually do and how I would end up treating others. Although she was one of my most challenging teachers, my favorite was definitely an English teacher named Mrs. Foster.

Mrs. Foster was one of my eleventh grade instructors in the little town of Glennallen, Alaska. She was a stickler for excellence, detail, and hard work which helped me improve in all of my classes, but those traits never did help me to like diagramming sentences.

We didn’t find out that her first name was Lola until way after high school – she was always concerned about being extra professional.

One of the main reasons I liked her was that she pushed me and saw potential where others did not. To her surprise, I ended up becoming a high school English and math teacher because of her influence.

I remember one thing she said to me after class as I was pondering what was going to be happening in the “next phase” of my life. “Make sure that whatever you do next in life is centered on making a difference. I chose kids so I can make an impact into the future. You should do the same.”

Because I trusted her advice, those thirty seconds greatly impacted my life. She knew I wouldn’t have any regrets investing in the next generation. When news spread that my first “real job” was going to be back in Alaska as a teacher, Mrs. Foster was very proud and bought me a briefcase so I could “look professional.”

She gave the case to my mom to pass along the next time she would see me, and it was delivered to me a couple of months later. I was so excited to thank Mrs. Foster I asked my mother for the contact info right away; unfortunately, Mrs. Foster had passed away and I had missed my opportunity.

I carried that briefcase every day until it eventually fell apart.

With the advent of search engines, e-mail, My Space, and Facebook you have no excuse but to go back and thank those female teachers who helped shape your life; since it is National Women’s History month you now have another good reason.

While you are at it, look up Mr. Favorite and give him a call too. Mrs. Foster passed away before I could say anything, so don’t miss your opportunity.

Dr. Finch can be reached at cfinch@moisd.org and followed on Twitter at CFinchMOISD