When I was teaching at Hyatt I had several students who had parents who were faculty members at UCR. One of those students was David Beaver.
The reason David comes to mind is that during a teacher parent conference, his parents — both UCR professors — voiced their surprise and dismay that David had not gotten an A in mathematics which happened to be their common, on-campus specialty. Demanding an explanation, I simply told them that it wasn’t that he couldn’t do the work, it just seemed that he preferred the language arts. As evidence, I shared with them that it was a rare occasion that given a little free time David would not pick up a book and start reading.
“I wouldn’t be all that concerned about it,” I said trying to diffuse the situation.
They took exception to that advisory and let me know in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t do a better job, they’d do it at home.
Well, six years later there was a feature article in the Riverside Press Enterprise about a half dozen students who had just graduated from John North High School. David happened to be one of them.
When asked what he would miss about his high school experience, David didn’t answer the question. Instead, he went out of his way to tell the reporter what he wouldn’t be missing – mathematics.
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Long after I stopped teaching at Hyatt, I happened to be eating dinner one night at Coco’s on University Avenue which is located a couple of blocks west of the University of California, Riverside (UCR) campus. On any given night you’ll find the place fairly well populated by college students looking for a decent meal.
As I perused the menu a tall, blonde woman in her early 20s approached my table with a hesitant demeanor accompanied by an anxious look of anticipation.
“Mr. Scott?” she asked hesitantly.
“Yes,” I said with a smile.
“I’m So and So. You probably don’t remember me but I was in your fifth grade class at Hyatt ten years ago,” she said.
“Oh, yes,” I said moving to the side of the booth to stand up. “How are you?” I asked.
“Oh, no. You needn’t get up,” she said in an apologetic and deferential voice, motioning me to stay seated.
“I just wanted to not only thank you for teaching me mathematics but to tell you that you inspired me to major in the subject,” she said with a broad and genuinely grateful smile.
“Really,” I said taken aback.
“Yes, I love math and I attribute that love to you,” she said. ‘You were my inspiration.”
“Wow,” I thought.
I stood and reached out to offer a hug. “Thank you,” I said.
She smiled, we hugged, and then she returned to the group of students she had arrived with.
Looking back I’m saddened by the fact that I can’t recall her name.
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