Sunday, March 24, 2019

Educator's Touch More Lives Than We Realize by Vickie Lynn Harmon

This day during another recent surgery has to be the most profound for me as a teacher. When my assigned nurse anesthetist came to my room to discuss my previous history of anesthesia, (his badge was not on at the time), I looked into his eyes and immediately knew him. 

He continued to talk and was very polite, professional, and had a great personality. He did not recognize me. Well, you see, I taught this young man 27 years ago in Mississippi. My surgery was in Tennessee. As he continued to talk, I said, "Do you remember me"? He said, "No ma'am". I said, "Since your badge is missing, is your name Ryan -------"? He said, "Yes, how did you know"?. 

I said, "Ryan, I was your 5th grade science and social studies teacher 27 years ago in Mississippi. You always said, Ms. Harmon, I am going to be a doctor and an anesthesiologist". He burst out crying and I did too. He remembered me at that very moment, and pulled me up from my bed. He ran out of the room screaming, crying, and yelling to everyone to come to surgical waiting area #7 to see his 5th grade teacher, Ms. Harmon. 

I had no idea where he was--thinking that he was still in Mississippi, and he had no idea where I was--in Tennnessee. Well, after a few minutes, with Ryan now in the bed with me, doctors, nurses, etc..tried to all attempted to fit in tiny surgical waiting area #7. Everybody was crying by that time. The time was nearing for me to be taken to the operating room, and Ryan asked me, "Ms. Harmon, do you still want me to put you to sleep in surgery since we now have reunited"? 

I told him, yes, and that I would not have it any other way. Well, after a 3-hour surgery, Ryan, did put me to sleep, and later returned to my room to see me in recovery. 

He found his badge too! We exchanged numbers, and have gone out to dinner with his fiancee' and my fiancee' He has been to my home several times and vice-versa. He said, "Ms. Harmon, I loved the way that you taught us science, and that is why I kept saying that I wanted to be a doctor/anesthesiologist". We were both now 300 miles from where we originally met as teacher and student-- now living in the same city and state". This was profound for me. 

I knew that I had touched the lives of so many students during my career, but on this day..... I will never forget it as long as I live! It is amazing that after 27 years, I still remembered my student's eyes. He said, "Ms. Harmon, I know what your chart says, but you look like you are in your 30s". Lol.....

About the Author: My name is Vickie Lynn Harmon, and I am a retired teacher of Mississippi Schools. Currently, I teach CLUE (Gifted Education) elementary students in grades K-5 in Memphis, Tennessee. I genuinely love teaching because I know that I have made a difference in the lives of children during my 37 years as an educator.
I am a 3-time graduate of Mississippi State University. I earned my Bachelor's, Master's, and Educational Specialist degrees from there. I am nearing the completion of my Doctorate in Education--Ed.D from the same magnificent university.

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