I am making a request. Actually, I'm asking you to do two things. Three, really.First, please read the article I have copied and pasted from a National Public Radio news feature that was aired on the radio today.
Second, listen to the audio of the article explaining the National Teacher Initiative.
Third, I want you to reflect on your own experience as a learner and identify a teacher who made a positive and constructive influence on your life. Then, use available Internet search engines and the like to seek out that teacher and find a way to contact that teacher to thank him or her.
Neurosurgeon Gives Thanks To His Science Teacher
That's exactly what Buono did.
"I'm talking to his wife, and we tried to lighten up the situation," he continues. "They started asking me about myself." They asked Buono who inspired him to become a surgeon, and he told them about his old teacher, Al Siedlecki, back at Medford Memorial Middle School in Medford, N.J.
Surgery was a success. The patient's powers of speech returned. "He's just excited and happy and crying and wanted to just hug me," Buono says. "You make sure you call that teacher," the patient said. "You make sure you thank him."
So Buono did.
"I picked the phone up and you go, 'Hey, it's Lee Buono,'" Siedlecki says to his former student. "'Lee, what's goin' on man? I haven't heard from you since you were in high school,'" he said.
"'I want to thank you,'" Buono replied.
"I was flabbergasted," Siedlecki says. "I said, 'Of all the people in your entire career, you want to thank me?'
"It was the same feeling I had when ... when my kids were born," Siedlecki says. "I started to cry. It made me feel really important that I had that influence on you."
Lately, Siedlecki admits, "I almost am afraid to say that I'm a teacher to some people."
Not anymore, he tells Buono, "because you called me. I'm a teacher, and I'm going to help as many people as I can to find their passion too."
Audio produced for Weekend Edition by Brian Reed.