I recently experienced a first, and it wasn’t a good one. A teacher who meant a lot to me passed away, leaving behind a wife and four children.
I had Mr. Bouska for math classes during both my junior and senior years at Mason City High School up in north Iowa, and they were the only two years that I actually looked forward to going to math class.
I should note, it had nothing to do with the math itself. I still hated that aspect. But Mr. Bouska’s passion for what I found so boring definitely made the period more bearable, and more importantly than that, he was just a great guy to talk to.
He was sarcastic and quick-witted, which did make a student or two cry due to his rough sense of humor. But he also had a softer, more caring side that he didn’t show unless the situation warranted it. I knew that if I went into his classroom before or after school in search of help with an upcoming exam, he’d treat it very seriously.
It’s also worth mentioning that, if a class did particularly well on an exam, Mr. Bouska would bring in cake pops for us all to enjoy. And they were actually made by him!
I’ll admit my guilt: I never told Mr. Bouska what a great teacher he was while I was in high school. In fact, I don’t think I told any of the teachers that had a great impact on me that they did just that.
I took it for granted. Once you mature and get out into the “real world”, you learn a lot about what it means to have someone in your corner. A teacher who cares about your education and wellbeing is one of the most valuable things anyone can experience during adolescence.
Mr. Bouska had told us about some of his health problems in class, and I was made aware that he retired at a young age just a few years ago due to ongoing health issues.
But you still never stop and think that that person can be gone in the blink of an eye. I sure didn’t, and I guess I’m writing this now to make up for it.
Don’t be like me. Give people their flowers while they can still smell them. I plan to do a better job of that moving forward.
Thanks for being a great teacher, Mr. Bouska.