We were the back hall gang, taking pride in the fact that we didn’t really fit in with the rest of the school. We had pens printed with our motto…. Back Hall Rules, Rest of School Drools…… We Have it All, in the Back Hall. We did have it all. More than we wanted some days. Working with high school age at-risk students. We probably should have said, “We have SEEN it all in the back hall.”
And there right in the middle of it all was Ginger. She was technically a teacher’s aide to hundreds of at-risk students. But she was a teacher in her own right. Even though she lacked the credentials, she was a teacher. She had unending patience. Sitting with a student to assist them with homework, or listening to a struggling high school student try to improve their reading skills, Ginger was encouraging in her own special way. She sometimes appeared a bit gruff but it was because she wanted what was best for the students and she knew they didn’t always get what they needed. They responded to her gruffness because they knew she cared about what was happening to them.
Ginger was constantly telling me… “Oh I could never do your job.” But then she would turn around and do exactly what I would have done in the same situation. Cooking, cleaning, recycling, sweeping, assisting students with their school work, always on the clean up committee, Ginger shared whatever she had with whomever needed it.
Together with everyone in our department we would cry and worry over our own children and grandchildren and wonder if they were all going to survive the world and find their way. We were more than coworkers… we were family for the time we were together.
At the end of a particularly difficult day I would return to my classroom and everything would be shipshape. A short note from Ginger on my desk saying ” I tried to clean up.. hope its ok.” It was more than ok. It was above and beyond what others would have done.
I guess those three words best describe Ginger… above and beyond. Never afraid to speak her mind when she felt it would help the situation, never ever saying, “That’s not my job.” Never letting us down and never leaving a job unfinished.
Ginger, your earthly self is gone. Your family may fall apart briefly but they will regroup, because of the influence you left behind. Your beautiful children and grandchildren, your husband, your friends; they will not forget what you have done for them and will not forget your giving spirit. Fly high, Ginger….. into the above and beyond.