The poor teacher couldn’t imagine how to feed and raise his five children after being fired. A few days later a limousine picked him up and drove him to his dream job.
Tommy Baxter was a 53-year-old teacher who loved his students. Not only did he teach them math and science, but he also gave his students sound advice that they took to heart and listened to.
Over the years, the principal of the public school where Mr. Baxter worked noticed a significant decline in the academic performance of students whose teachers were 50 years of age or older. Knowing that Tommy was 53 years old, he was determined to retire him..
Yet, while this was typical of most teachers, Mr. Baxter’s students excelled in their lessons. He made math and science simple, and because of his unique teaching methods, more students understood complex lessons.
Because of his “cool” teaching methods, students called him “the best teacher in town”. Mr. Baxter’s students always graduated with honors and often went on to the best colleges and universities in the country.
One day Mr. Baxter was called into the principal’s office. “I’m afraid I have some bad news for you,” the principal told him.
“After talking to the school board, we decided it was time to retire you. We want to bring a new dynamic to the school system, and that means hiring young teachers,” he said.
Mr. Baxter was stunned. He didn’t expect to be fired, especially since he was doing such a good job. “Don’t I bring in new ideas?” – he asked the principal. “My students graduate with honors, and there aren’t any who don’t go to university,” he explained.
The principal shrugged. “I’m sorry, but this decision is final, and there’s nothing I can do for you. Please pack up your things and go home. You’ll get your last paycheck at the end of the month,” he said and opened the door so Mr. Baxter could leave.
Mr. Baxter was in tears as he left the office. Some of his students saw him weeping and decided to ask what was the matter. “Mr. B.!” – shouted one of them. “What’s the matter? Why are you crying?”
Mr. Baxter shook his head. “I just found out I won’t be your teacher anymore,” he said. “I just got served with an involuntary retirement notice.”
The students were taken breathless by this news and were deeply shocked. “No way! Why would they do this? They can’t do that to you. It’s not fair!” – His student said. “We won’t let it happen!” – shouted another.
“I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do about their decision. You all know how to contact me, don’t you? If you need anything, just call me,” Mr Baxter told his students, giving each of them a hug before collecting his belongings in the staff room.
On this day, Mr Baxter’s pupils could not concentrate. They were all very hurt by Mr Baxter’s dismissal and wanted to do something about it.
“Let’s sign a petition,” suggested class representative Miranda. She took out a piece of paper and wrote a petition asking them to cancel Mr Braxter’s dismissal. All the students signed the sheet, hoping it would make a difference.
“Why don’t we get our parents involved? Maybe they can talk to the school district administration. They should do that! Mr. Baxter doesn’t deserve this exclusion. He has five children,” one student suggested to the class representative.
The parents’ group chats were flooded with messages about Mr Baxter’s dismissal that evening. One parent decided to call an emergency meeting of the school board the next day.
Meanwhile, Mr Baxter sat at home wondering how he could support his five children without a salary. Realising that he was already too old to get another teaching job, he had to make do with his savings and the last salary he received from the school.
“Dad,” shouted one of his sons in the evening. “Did you forget to make dinner tonight?”
Mr Baxter looked at his watch and realised it was 7.30pm. “Forgive me, children. I was so preoccupied I completely forgot about dinner. I’ll check the fridge now,” he said.
He walked to the kitchen and realised that there was no more food stock in the fridge. He checked their pantry and saw that they had the last can of corned beef left.
Mr Baxter closed his eyes and sighed: “I’m sorry, kids. Daddy’s a bit short on money at the moment. We’ll have to split that can of corned beef for dinner. I’ll make it up to you as soon as I get my wages in a few days,” he apologised.
Mr Baxter was hurt when he saw that his five children had to share a small box of corned beef. They looked sad and disappointed and he could not believe he could not feed his children because he was not working.
He stayed up nights trying to find a way to make money – he thought about becoming a private tutor, applying for a teaching position at another school, and many other things. Before he knew it, he was asleep on the sofa and woke up the next morning.
Mr Baxter woke up to the sound of a car honking loudly outside his house. He cautiously approached the front door and saw a limousine parked outside.
As he was about to check why the limousine had suddenly stopped in front of his house, the tinted window came down and his pupils started shouting. “Mr Baxter! It’s us!”
“What are you all doing here?” – he asked in surprise.
“We have a surprise for you! Get in the car!” – Miranda, the class representative, told him.
Mr Baxter took his coat from the coat rack and headed for the car. He was shocked and touched to see so many of his students in the car looking excited.
“Where are we going?” – he asked them. They all laughed and said in unison, “You’ll see!”
A few minutes later they drove up to the newly built building and downstairs. Mr Baxter was surprised to see the parents of his students in the building, as well as a member of the school board.
“What are we all doing here?” – Mr Baxter asked curiously.
The school district board member smiled. “You are a lucky teacher, Mr. Baxter. Your students love you very much,” he said.
“We are here to offer you a new position as a teacher and administrator in this new government school. We’d like you to hold it! What do you say?” – he asked Mr Baxter, whose jaw instantly dropped when he heard the job offer. He was speechless and did not know what to say.
After being silent for about a minute, his students urged him to agree. “Well, Mr. Baxter? What do you say?” – Miranda asked.
Mr Baxter could not hold back tears. He said running the school had always been a dream of his and now, thanks to his students, he could fulfil it.
After accepting his work, Mr Baxter was presented with a medal inscribed “Best Teacher Ever”, prepared by his students and their parents. “Thank you,” he exclaimed as he received the medal. “I don’t know what I did to deserve such kindness from all of you.”
Although he could no longer teach his beloved pupils, they often visited the new public school and spent time with Mr Baxter. They remained close, and Mr Baxter was able to inspire a whole generation of pupils through his new position.