Ron Cushman spent nearly 30 years teaching kindergarten in Bothell, Washington, a suburb outside of Seattle.
But he hadn’t always planned on becoming a teacher.
As Ron told his former student, Jamie Marks, his journey to the kindergarten classroom began when he was wounded in Vietnam.
Click here for the transcript.
Jamie Marks (JM): Do you remember your first day at being a teacher?
RC: Yeah, I remember being really really nervous and scared. And, I wore a hook on my hand. I remember walking on the playground. This mob of kids, they just came running over at me. And they were just gawking and staring. I folded my arms I’d kinda hide it. But they were curious. So, every year, like on the first day of school, I’d take out the prosthetic arm and then we’d pass it around and ask questions and they play Captain Hook or they do whatever. And, as long as you were open and playful and answer all their questions...It was only a big deal for bout an hour or two.
JM: Yeah [laughs]...
RC: And kids like you, Jamie, we kinda clicked.
JM: Yeah, there was definitely something passed the "I'm going to teach you the alphabet, and then you're gonna forget me in second grade." And, I live in a split family and so I've never really had someone that’s like always been there. And you've always been stable, throughout everything, you've been there with a lot of the huge stages in my life.
RC: Remember driving last spring?
JM: [laughs] Yeah.
RC: I taught you how to drive.
JM: And you were there when I got my driver's license.
RC: Yeah, I remember. And that's what I want to give. It's not just fun, but I want there to be meaning. I want to be a lasting impression.
JM: You know, it really is a privilege to be able to say that I know you, you know. I guess just thank you, for everything, you know.
RC: Yeah, it goes right back at you.