Mr. Edward Zazzarino was my 11th grade English teacher, and to this day, he remains one of my top five favorite educators of all time. His class was absolutely magical! He greeted us at the door every afternoon, and as soon as the bell chimed, we were transported from our crowded inner-city high school to a number of other locations, depending on the topic or book being studied. He exposed us to literary greats, made sure our language arts foundation was solid and challenged us to be critical thinkers.
I vividly remember memorizing various quotes, falling in love with Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”, studying root words and their origins, and applying texts to our lived experiences. Simply magical! It is not an accident that most of my classmates went on to become nurses, doctors, educators, businessmen, clergy, and practitioners in a host of other professions. At some point on the journey, I cemented my decision to become an English teacher. After all, I could do what I had grown to love, travel the world, and create for other students an unforgettable experience.
Mr. Zazzarino’s instruction was seasoned with love and discipline. He cared for each eager learner and fed us sufficiently. While you may have no interest in teaching high school and the classroom may sound daunting, the principle still applies. It doesn’t take much to ignite passion and excitement in the life of another. Share your craft with excitement and zest, and you’ll soon find that it is as a fire spreading uncontrollably. Let your God-given gifts make room for you!
It was in this same class that I fell in love with a George Washington Carver quote that reads, “when you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” I wholeheartedly believe that each of us was created for a specific purpose. While I can impart knowledge and inspire, I cannot do so in Zazzarino fashion, nor is that my aim. There are students who will pass through my classroom who I am meant to positively impact. By God’s grace, each encounter will produce blessings for generations to come. What gifts have you been given? How are you changing the climate and creating waves? Hone your skills, dedicate time and resources to improve your craft, and watch lives change as a result. You’ve been favored with an ‘uncommon’ stamp, use it liberally!
Kimberly R. Douglas