Before my current career as a stay at home mom, I worked in several fields all surrounding math. I graduated magna cum laude with a degree in mathematics. I love math. I am a numbers nerd.
The love of math came early for me, partly because I really am just a nerd, and partly because I had an amazing math teacher in high school. Michael Bearden was one of those few people who truly loved what he did. He wasn’t a teacher because of the pay (yeah, I know all you teachers out there are chuckling at that thought!) or the summers off, he did it because he wanted to make a difference in others’ lives. And what a difference he made! He had a passion for what he taught that was contagious. He made you want to learn, and that’s a rare trait. Certainly, for me personally, he introduced me to what would become a life-long passion, and encouraged me to pursue it further after high school. He cared beyond the four walls of a classroom. I can only pray that my kids get to experience a teacher like that at some point in their school years.
Mr. Bearden left this world yesterday, succumbing to cancer. Within a few hours of his passing, word spread through our small community and Facebook lit up with tributes, not only filled with sorrow but also with appreciation of what a great man he was. It was remarkable to see just how many people were affected by the way this man lived his life. To touch one life like that is truly a blessing. To influence hundreds? That’s nothing short of extraordinary.