I’m a Fowler Kid

I missed my post on Tuesday but I didn’t think you all would mind if I posted on Saturday. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I have grown and changed from the person that I once was. You see, I was a wild child, especially in high school. I got into fights, I skipped class, I got kicked out of school for an entire semester. I had been diagnosed with panic disorder and depression; I felt as if nobody cared about me (obviously that wasn’t true but my teenage self believed it).

One day, after having suffered from a panic attack in the middle of school and getting into an argument with the principal I was pulled aside by a teacher whom I barely knew, I didn’t have any classes with him but I knew who he was, everyone knew Mister Fowler. “I want you in my class.”

“Why? I’ll never graduate.” This was only my sophomore year, I still had two and a half years to graduation and had already been told by a few teachers that I wouldn’t get my diploma.

“I believe in you. I want you in my class.” Some strings were pulled and I was put into his class agriculture class. I had already been taking horticulture and forestry with Mister Tometich and now half my days were spent in the agriculture department. It was there that I learned who I was, not just who others saw me as. He believed in me, even when I didn’t. He gave me responsibility and stability in a world that I thought was falling apart around me. When I had a panic attack at school Mister Fowler and Mister Tometich would both be there for me; I hated being locked away in the nurse’s office alone. It always made it worse for me and they knew that. I’d sit in Mister Fowler’s office, they’d help me get through the panic attack by talking to me, assuring me that things were alright, and then putting me to work.

I didn’t magically become a wonderful student. I still got into all sorts of trouble, just not in those classes. You see Fowler and Tometich believed in me. I couldn’t let them down. One December morning the principal approached me in the hallway to demand that I remove my makeup because it was offensive; I responded by telling him that I felt the Santa hat he was wearing was offensive, refused to remove my makeup, then dodged into Fowler’s class and took my seat for first period. He followed me in and made his demand again telling me I would be sent home if I did not comply. I started to refuse but then saw that look from Fowler accompanied with a slight shake of his head, I went to the restroom, washed off my makeup, and went back to class. I couldn’t disappoint him, he believed in me.

By the time my senior year rolled around I was being left to “watch over” the class when Fowler had to leave for a FFA competition, even asked to come in during my free hour to help the substitute teacher. I had been asked to write the final exam for the year one agriculture students, I was at school early and left late so that I could help in the greenhouse or in the shop area. To be completely honest, I went to school because of these two wonderful teachers, I graduated because of them. I graduated for them (and my parents; the four people in my life that I didn’t want to disappoint). When I did graduate Mister Fowler told me that he always believed in me, from that moment that he saw me in the middle of a panic attack in the hallway arguing with the principal. He believed in me, he knew that I had more in my future than to just be the kid who got expelled (as that’s what the principal was pushing for), he stood up for me. He guided me. He placed me on the correct path. I will always be grateful that he saw something in me that I didn’t even see.

While I mourn the loss of my dear teacher, my mentor. I will always remember David Fowler with fondness, I will always be thankful for the wonderful man that he was. Not many teachers take the time to take the outcasts, the trouble makers, the loners, and help them to become more than just a statistic. I will always be one of Fowler’s kids.

 

Were you lucky enough to have a teacher who transformed your life?

 

About Angela Schroeder

Angela Schroeder is a single mother of three. She was born and raised in Iowa in a river town known for its pearl buttons. Having four siblings, she never lacked for someone to play with. As she grew older, she found herself pulled into books and writing more and more. Her parents are her heroes, her siblings her confidants and tormentors, and her children are a wonderful blessing. Church is important to her children and her. They enjoy the friendships they’ve made with the people there. Writing has always been a passion. Her first experience was in fifth grade when she went to a one-day writing conference. After that she knew it was something she wanted to pursue.
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8 Responses to I’m a Fowler Kid

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    What a wonderful testimony of how you prevailed through what must have been awful years of the most difficult period in a kid’s life… and what an outstanding tribute to teachers Fowler and Tometich. Individuals such as those two are the heroes of the teaching profession, in a generation when too many teachers didn’t care, wouldn’t help, and might not even notice a struggling child.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Angela, I don’t recall having any teacher of mine who took a step beyond teaching as yours did. Praise God for him. All teachers should have the same mind-frame, as far as I’m concerned. Look for the student who needs help, and put yourself out there for them. You never know who they may become.

    Like you, I got into a lot of trouble in school, especially in high school. Not that I was a bad kid, but I didn’t apply myself as I should have. There was little motivation or encouragement. Only criticism. However, it did pave the way for my attitude in writing today. Today, I try to use any criticism to better myself. First, I look at it to see if it’s true. If it is, I change what needs to be changed. If not, I pitch it and try never to think of it again. “Stick and stone,” and all that. LOL

    I’m so glad you had such a mentor in your life. God bless you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wish you had had teachers like I did to help you through that period in your life. It’s hard to live with a “stick and stone” philosophy, it can be so easy to take everything to heart. Kudos to you on being able to do so, to use what others say to further you in your life or to simply turn the other cheek and ignore it. That’s a tough thing to do.

      Like

  3. I had one who got me through an algebra class when I skipped up in school. I had more who were ready to tear me down than pick me up or sustain me.Had I had any who took an interest in me, just one person, I would have continued my education, as I had always planned. I did after a while, but not the way I wanted to or for as long. You had special blessings there. The ones who were good to me have recently been in my thoughts and prayers.

    Like

  4. Patricia Kiyono says:

    How fortunate for you to have these special people in your life. Nice tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kathleenbee says:

    Beautiful story.

    Like

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