Lorraine Reader was my high school algebra and calculus teacher. She was short in height but tall in influence. Her alma mater was Michigan State University. Go Green! She had brown hair, a cool Mazda Miata, and two voices. One of them was her normal voice that she used on a regular basis and the other one only came out when her point wasn't getting across. Her diaphragm would lower and then wisdom would fly out of her lips. As highschoolers, my classmates didn't take it too seriously. They would crack jokes about her motivational speeches but I didn't find them funny. I respected Mrs. Reader and what she had to say. There was something about her that I related to. I think it was her passion to positively influence people.
Once I got to college I thought my high school years were behind me but the same damn saying kept popping up in my head... "Don't let that be your life story, Greg". See, Mrs. Reader would say that to me when I made excuses. She probably said it to me 20+ times and now I will be gratefully haunted with hearing this for the rest of my life. It's been 12 years since the last time heard her say this yet hear I am writing about it. I absolutely hate complaining and making excuses now and she has something to do with that. She preached accountability and growth, two things I have grown to nurture and love.
Mrs. Reader always tried to prepare us for the future but, where I graduated high school, this wasn't common. The small town of Saranac, Michigan homes one too many small thinkers. The culture there needs work and the people there need even more. She wasn't the most popular teacher, with the students, and I think that's why. She should have been a college professor where her talents would have been more appreciated. However, I may not have had her as a teacher then. So, I'm grateful.
I would highly recommend to all teachers out there that prepping your students for the future should be goal number one. Sure, teaching them math or history is important but anyone can do that. Not everyone chooses to inspire, challenge, and "teach them how to fish". These things can change a young persons life forever.
I'm not sure exactly why I'm writing this but I think it comes down to two reasons:
1. You never know where the next life-changing piece of advice is going to come from and people should be on the lookout for these gems.
2. I want it to be known that Lorraine Reader changed my life for the better. I doubt she will read this but I hope she knows that I, and many others, appreciate her prepping us for the future. Thank you, Mrs. Reader!
Greg is a Grand Rapids, Michigan native with a passion for personal growth.