Written by Russ Peters.
Just the other day I was speaking with a group of teachers about what it takes to be a truly great teacher. One responded content knowledge. Another responded that they must possess great behavioral management. And yet another thought a great teacher must have high student achievement.
While I agreed aspects of each answer, I thought back to all of the teachers I had during my 16 years of schooling. I thought off all the tests, all of the lectures and all of the unique classroom environments. Yet, only one teacher came to mind. There has only ever been one teacher to come to mind.
What’s funny is that I never actually had this teacher in class. Never sat in front of one of his lessons. Never heard him talk about the theory of relativity. Or the Pythagorean Theorem. And never had to take one of his assessments. Yet I learned more from this teacher than any other.
You see being a good teacher has to do with building personal relationships. Not being a student’s friend or being soft on discipline. But being a true role model and mentor. No one was better than this than Roger Allard.
There was no teacher I respected more and no one I wanted to displease less. He taught me about life and doing the right thing. He would be the first person to tell me I was wrong and then help me figure out ways to improve. He was not soft yet I was never afraid to approach him. My only real fear was to disappoint him.
Mr. Allard remained a mentor after I graduated from High School. He and his wife always welcomed me during a spontaneous visit to their home. We would catch up and reminisce. They would listen and provide guidance. And even after 20 years of being removed from EGHS, he would remind me that it is not appropriate to kiss a girl in the hallways. He would never let me live that one down.
It is said that the highest form of flattery is imitation and over my eight years in education I continue to reflect back on my conversations with Mr. Allard. What would he do? How would he handle a situation? And most importantly, what could I do better next time.
It was difficult to hear that Mr. Allard passed away. He had a profound impact on my life and the lives of many others throughout the State of Rhode Island. He was the epitome of being a good teacher. He will be missed but certainly never be forgotten.Russ Peters graduated from East Greenwich High School in 1992. You can read Roger Allard's obituary here.