It’s Teacher Appreciation Day. I don’t usually write a specific post for TAD. Typically, I try to appreciate myself, and my colleagues every day. But events of the past year reminded me that I could write a post for today with a specific subject. That subject is Sid Ayers.
None of you know Sid, though some of you may have known him. A quick calculation suggests that he is no longer with us. Sid was a guidance counselor in upstate New York during the 1950’s. From what I know, which is all second-hand, Sid may even have been a part-time guidance counselor. I don’t even really know the actual name of the school where Sid taught. It might have been this one, but I’m not really sure. To be honest, I don’t know very much about Sid.
I do know one thing, however. At some point in the fall of 1957 or the early winter of 1958, Sid was informed that there was a new university opening in the NY State University system. The new school, located on Long Island, was focused on training science teachers. Part of the opening process involved a state-wide search for possible students. If Sid knew any students in his school who might be interested, the university was offering free tuition.
Sid did know one student who fit the description. So he pulled the student out of class, told him about this rather sweet deal, and signed him up for higher education. The student, a bright guy who hadn’t really figured out too much about what he was going to do after high school, turned out to be a perfect choice.
So it was that my father was able to leave upstate New York, go to college, have three children over the span of two marriages, and spend a career teaching science to thousands of students.
I have to imagine that this isn’t the first nice thing that anyone has ever written about Sid Ayers. I am sure he was a good guy, and that he had a family who loved him very much. Still, in at least this one instance, he changed the life of one of his students in ways that I’m sure even he couldn’t have possibly imagined. If this isn’t a story worth telling today, then I don’t know what is.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Day, to Sid, and to all the educators who are making the world a better place in ways they can’t even imagine. We all owe you more than we can ever really know.
Edit: Right after I wrote this, I found this webpage. I don’t know if this is the same Sid Ayers, but the coincidence is too close for me to think that it isn’t.