Dad. This is it. The end as you know it. After 30 years of teaching, you have officially gathered the last of your paper work, pressed confirm and have made the announcement of the end of your successful “lifelong” career.
How is this happening? How am I already a senior in college with a dad who is edging 60-years-old, deciding he is essentially done with one of his proudest accomplishments. My dad, the beloved high school AP psychology teacher. My dad, the favorite speaker at any given school function and MY dad who is probably the highest-rated teacher I ever did see on ratemyteacher.com. I just want to know where all that time went.
I will miss watching you sit at our white desktop, whispering to yourself practicing the next day’s lecture over and over with John mayor singing softly through our living room speaker. I’ll miss your neat stack of dress clothes, freshly warmed by the iron we’ve had since the beginning of time, waiting for you on the wooden clothes hanger. Most of all I’ll miss the sound of your truck pulling into the driveway and you speed walking in with your signature “hey!!!” exclamation, your bookbag and coffee-stained cup always by your side.
You being a teacher has been a signature part of my identity my entire life. After I finally figured out you were not just a “fixer” for things around the house around the ripe age of six, I was lucky enough to discover that my “daddy” was an amazing man who was not only intelligent, but was a caring and supportive male figure in the lives of many other than my own. Even as a little girl we would run into your old students on walks outside in West Hartford center or even different states on vacation and I could easily see your immense positive impact on every single one of them. These random but comforting faces we would see in quick passing reminded me that “Mr. Baxer” was not just my dad- he was and forever will be someone that anyone would be lucky to have even a short conversation with, let alone have as a teacher or father.
I wasn’t even your student, and the memories I have from the snippets of your lessons I would get a glance at are forever in my brain. You would let me sit with you in our beloved and comforting breakfast nook, pressing colorful smiley face stickers to each test, even for the students who may have done poorly. I still love showing you off to my friends and watching you sit down with them and detail a new psychological study that you easily would relate to the newest Netflix show or event in pop culture. You are truly remarkable in the way that you somehow always managed to teach not only to your high school students, but outside the classroom to anyone with a passion that is unmatched.
Passionate. You are truly the most passionate man on earth. Everyone knows that you are never hungry, you are starving. You are never cold, you are freezing! You have always been able to capture an audience, whether it is in a small huddle with family friends by a fire or in your massive lecture with hundreds of students. How lucky am I to have been raised by a man who chose a career he was truly captivated by and by a man who first and foremost wishes for others to learn about the beauty of the world. You rightfully chose a career that was not highlighted by dollar signs, but one that truly inspires and of course, educates the youth- and I will never not be thankful for that and look up to you for it.
I have always been compared to you. Of course, I absolutely love mom, but I have always noticed more inherent similarities between you and me. Not only do we look insanely alike, but my life always seemed to mirror yours. We both loved school. Both ran the 800 meters in high school, it being our favorite event. Same exact music taste, forever admiring Jack Johnson and Taylor Swift, of course. Both amazingly good looking… okay, too far. I hope you always know you are my role model, and it couldn’t be more perfect for me, in the last couple of years, to decide that I too, wish to become a teacher. Thank you for being a forever inspiration, dad.
I truly hope, and know that you will find something just as fulfilling to do while you are retired from teaching. Although it is feeling like I am grieving the end of your teaching career, I couldn’t be more excited for what is next for you. After everything you have done with your life, you deserve nothing more than to look back and enjoy the view of all your successes. I love you, dad. Congratulations.