Thank You, Mr. Miller THE TEACHER WHO TAUGHT ME SOME OF LIFE’S GREATEST LESSONS
Brian R. Summers DMD, PhD Patrick V. Hagerty, DMD
Calapooia Courier August 2019
Our eldest child, Norah, will enter first grade this upcoming school year, and I still can’t believe we have a little elementary school student in our home. As the new school year begins, Norah is getting excited about returning to the classroom,
technology and equipment for his students. Once, he was able to get computers that featured various learning modules and flight simulators for his classroom. At the time, I was convinced that I wanted to be
an Air Force pilot, and these computers were the ultimate training ground. I would be in his classroom before and after school, messing around with the principles of aeronautics and physics. It was my first real introduction to science, and it only grew from there. Obviously, I never became an Air Force pilot, but thanks to Mr. Miller and his encouragement and teaching style, I fell in love with science. I was actually a pretty serious little boy when
and we can’t wait to see how her teachers continue to help her grow. But there will always be one teacher whom I measure Norah’s teachers up against. This teacher taught me many lessons, and I owe a big part of who I am to him. Mr. Miller was my science teacher in seventh and eighth grade, and then I assisted him in his classroom when I was in high school. During this time, I discovered that Mr. Miller was actually
Dr. Miller, because he had obtained his Ph.D. Surprised, I said, “So, we should call you Dr. Miller.” His response has left an impression on me to this day. He said, “Anybody who wants you to call them doctor should be shot.” Granted, in today’s world, Mr. Miller’s comment wouldn’t be very politically correct, but it still had a profound impact on me. Mr. Miller wanted me to understand that remaining humble was one of the best qualities you could possess. Doctors and those with titles of esteem shouldn’t be waving those words above others, and you cannot demand respect simply because of your title. Instead, respect should be earned. Today, I still don’t like when people call me Dr. Summers, and I have even convinced nurses at the local hospitals and my team at Calapooia Family Dental to call me Brian. I know there are those who are more comfortable calling me Dr. Summers, and that’s perfectly understandable. But I still wince anytime someone calls me “doctor.” I took that lesson from Mr. Miller to heart, and it wasn’t the only time he had that profound of an impact on me.
I was growing up, and Mr. Miller was the one who showed me that it’s okay to not take yourself too seriously, especially when you’re doing something that you love every day. I’m not sure how we got on this topic, but his response to someone asking him about the meaning of life was “donuts.” Mr. Miller had that perfect blend of fun and goofy while being serious and studious. He knew when it was best for students to lead other students through lessons, and he always gave us the freedom to express our thoughts. He was just happy as long as we were learning. I remained close with Mr. Miller after graduating high school, and he would continually send me cards for various milestones and achievements I reached. We have lost touch a bit through the years, but I will never forget the lessons he taught me. Norah’s teachers have a lot to measure up to in my book, but if they do, I know she will have the best opportunity for growth.
Thank you, Mr. Miller.
-Dr. Brian Summers
Mr. Miller was big on applying for grants so he could outfit his classroom with
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