I vividly remember sitting at my desk on the last day of AP Calculus in high school. I should have been euphoric, right? I should have been jumping for joy but I wasn’t. Tears actually came to my eyes and I let them fall openly as other classmates of mine did the same. That class was difficult. It was the hardest I had ever worked to gain an education in my twelve years of schooling. The reason for this emotional display could be described with a single name: Mr. Black.
This math teacher was not like other math teachers. Mr. Black impacted my education in ways that still affect me today, five years later. He did not practice a perfected method of teaching. To be honest, other math teachers were better at teaching math than he was. But, what he did have was a love for his subject matter and a love for his students. He exemplified the teaching strategies of the ultimate teacher, our Savior, and made a lasting mark on my educational inheritance due to the atmosphere of love he created in his classroom.
His name was the first that came to mind while standing in the recent exhibition at Education in Zion called Inheritance. This exhibit represents a semester’s long project where BYU students explored their own educational legacies. Who had a lasting impact on their educations? Who sacrificed so they could learn and grow?
These questions are posed by a collaborative artwork that was on display called Connecting (2010). This sculpture was begun by a number of BYU students that has invited viewers to participate in its creation. The viewer was invited to think about who in his/her life contributed to one’s own educational inheritance. Then the viewer was asked to write that person’s name on a piece of fabric and tie it to the large ball of fabric, connecting each one of us through the sacrifices of our loved ones. In this way, we are knit together in Zion through our educational heritage, and teachers like Mr. Black are remembered for their love of eternal learning.
Consider your own educational inheritance. Who was a part of yours? How did they impact you, and what do you plan on doing to continue that legacy?
-Breezy Diether, Education in Zion gallery educator