Teachers are unarguably some of the most influential people in children’s lives. They work long hours to teach their students everything they need to know, and it can often be a thankless job. Substitute teachers also provide that same influence. While they may not be in the classroom every day with the same students, if they spend enough time with them they can form a similar bond and have that same influence. One substitute teacher has shown that he’s clearly formed a bond with his students and they’ve responded in his time of need.
Walter Erickson is a substitute teacher from Minneapolis. He’s a retired former teacher and has been serving the north metro school district since the early 90s. At 80 years old he’s not what you think of when you think of a substitute teacher, but he’s still managed to connect with his students. Even though he’s retired, he spends almost every day at Champlin Park High School. Right now, he’s primarily working to save up money for some surgeries for his wife. She needs to have cataract surgery and also some needed dental work.
Two of his students found out that the surgeries for his wife might not be covered by insurance and wanted to do something about it. When asked why the girls said that he had impacted their lives in amazing ways. Saying he connects with them on a personal level and that it is obvious he loves what he does. This encourages them to want to learn more. They decided they wanted to do something to show how appreciative they were of him. Once they heard about his wife and the surgeries she needed, they knew what they needed to do.
They started a GoFundMe account to help raise money for Erickson. Their initial goal was a humble one, just $500. Small donations from students started rolling into the account. Showing that he’d had an impact not only to those that started the page but to the whole school. Eventually, they were ready to present to Erickson the full amount they had raised, and it was much more than anyone had anticipated.
The students and local community had raised $13,905 for Erickson and his wife. It seems Erickson’s impact stretches further than the walls of the school. He told CBS Minnesota that he is overwhelmed by the generosity of his students. His wife was left asking who the parents of these girls are that they have such compassionate hearts for others.
Now that the money has been raised, Erickson asked if he will stop substitute teaching. He said that he wouldn’t be stopping anytime soon. The idea to raise this money may have come from just two of his students, but the amount of money raised and the willingness to donate proves that he’s had a huge impact on the students in his life.
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Source: CBS Minnosota