“You can change the world by working really hard.” (Mr. Philip Rau, World History Teacher)

July 31, 2010

The last several weeks I have been thinking of Mr. Rau, one of my favorite teachers from Norcross High School, who was killed in a robbery in 1999.

Mr. Rau’s classes were enjoyable. He made the subject matter relevant and interesting. He also believed that one can change the world by working really hard. That’s probably what I remember the most. His dedicated efforts in helping every student. When I recall the times I’ve seen Mr. Rau in the hallways of NHS, I remember him as a person holding an Olympic torch. He greeted everyone. No one passed unnoticed.

I cannot believe it’s been over 11 years and 3 months since that dreadful day when I learned about Mr. Rau’s death. I remember feeling numb and in shock. I went to his classroom to make sure it was not a sick joke. I remember his writing on the white board. I remember the memorial service in a packed stadium. I remember the eulogy that one of his teacher-friends gave. He said that Mr. Rau had a professor at Emory University who compared teaching to spreading the light. I remember feeling so sad that I couldn’t cry. I also remember a woman who sat next to me held me when I began to cry.

As I start over at a new job I think back to Mr. Rau’s World History Class. As I look at the students and see their eager faces. As they look to me for answers, I think about Mr. Rau and ask myself how would Mr. Rau answer that question. I remember Mr. Rau never gave the answers. He asked questions and encouraged the student to come up with his or her own answer.

I believe Mr. Rau still lives in spirit, our memories, and in the lessons we learned. The light in him keeps on living and spreading.


One Response to ““You can change the world by working really hard.” (Mr. Philip Rau, World History Teacher)”

  1. Walt Rau said

    Thank you for your thoughtful and kind rememberance of Philip.

    . . . Walt Rau (Philip’s father)

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