Remembering a Teacher’s Legacy: Mr. Eric Ratzlaff

A few days after I posted this entry, it was seen by Catherine, Mr. Ratzlaff's daughter.  She sent me a picture of the banner (a photo I had never seen)...and sure enough, there we are: I'm holding the end on the left, my good friend Deanna is holding the end on the right, other students surround sending their love, and Mr. Ratzlaff is centre--with a smile we'll always remember.

A few days after I posted this entry, it was seen by Catherine, Mr. Ratzlaff’s daughter. She sent me a picture of the banner (a photo I had never seen)…and sure enough, there we are: I’m holding the end on the left, my good friend Deanna is holding the end on the right, other students surround sending their love, and Mr. Ratzlaff is centre–with a smile we’ll always remember.

“A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.” -Henry Adams

What legacy do we leave as teachers?  What lives on beyond our days in the classroom?  Today I was sad to hear of the loss of one of my favourite high school teachers, Mr. Eric Ratzlaff–but I also know this wonderful teacher I had at Abbotsford Senior Secondary leaves a great legacy.

Mr. Eric Ratzlaff, TeacherMr. Ratzlaff was funny, kind, smart, and he loved teaching and he had a great way with students. He taught for 37 years, and yet I remember in high school hearing that he was retiring that year and thinking, “It’s too soon!”  He had so much energy and passion!

Hearing of his coming retirement, I remember not being aware of what specifically was planned to honour Mr. Ratzlaff (I learned later there was a retirement party), and I remember thinking we as students couldn’t let this teacher go with out making sure he knew for sure he made a difference and was loved by his students.

I remember my friends and I cut up colourful pieces of paper and brought them around to students in Abby Senior and invited them to write their well wishes to Mr. Ratzlaff. Then, we glued the many dozens, probably 200+ thoughtful notes on a giant piece of that long rolled paper you find in schools.

When we presented the giant banner to him, and he was moved and graciously, kindly accepted–but I remember thinking that in his humble way he didn’t seem to grasp in the moment how truly awesome he was in our lives–he was almost embarrassed by the attention.

Mr. Ratzlaff laughed with us later the next day saying how awkward it was to walk home with such a giant rolled up card! We teased him back that we were glad to give him an occasion to really think about the weight of his impact on students!

Mr. Ratzlaff, thank you for giving yourself to teaching, for sharing your joy in learning, and for the way you respected and inspired students. Your legacy lives on–I know I carry a memory of your teaching with me in the teacher I have become, and in thinking about the teacher I want to be.

Thank you, Mr. Ratzlaff, for everything.

Read Obituary.

A big thank you, to Mr. Ratzlaff--a great teacher.

A big thank you, to Mr. Ratzlaff–a great teacher.

My New Website: tiffanypoirier.com

Hey, everybody!  I’ve had a great time with this blog–what a learning journey!  It sure is neat to look back through your mind in a way, as you scan a few years of blog posts.  I will continue to add blog posts here as I get the inspiration, yet perhaps you have noticed: I have a few new websites:

teachingcoats.com

learningcoats.com

personalinterestprojects.com

And one that I want to highlight today is my new personal website:

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 Come on over and check it out!

 

My Talk at TEDxVictoria: “The Power to Question”

It’s here–my talk at TEDxVictoria is live!  It was an amazing experience to grow through preparing and sharing this talk, “The Power to Question“, on stage at the MacPherson Playhouse.  The day was surreal, magical–the speaker line-up was outstanding and it was a privilege to be able to share the stage with them.  I made so many new friends and have such high praises for the TEDxVictoria team.  They took care of everything and the day went beautifully.

I still get a little nervous when I click play on this video…I remember the feeling backstage, the anticipation and butterflies.  Usually when I speak I can see the audiences faces, but with the bright stage lights, the audience was all in black. It was all black, but not a void–I could feel the warm, supportive presence of the audience. Thank you to everyone involved in TEDxVictoria 2013–and thank you to you for checking out this talk!

 

Sneak Peek: “Personal Interest Projects” Course

Hello! As many of you know, I’ve been having a blast writing and recording videos for my new online course in “Personal Interest Projects”!  I’ve been sharing elements of this course with my student for 8 years and have recently refined it to the point where I am so excited to be able to launch a comprehensive version for students online.  This course teaches you my “10-Step Personal Interest Project Framework”.

Here is a sneak peek of one of the videos in this course:

“Step 2: Narrow a Question”

My Teaching Story: The Teaching Coats Project

CourageRenewal_Tiffany Poirier

Parker Palmer’s book “The Courage to Teach” found me when I needed it most.

The book’s powerful message deeply moved me–one line in particular became the inspiration for an arts-based research study into teacher identity: “The Teaching Coats Project“.

 

This week, it was an honour to share a personal story through a guest blog at couragerenewal.org

Thank you for being a part of the journey!

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