I transferred to Beaconsfield Junior High in grade nine. It was a hard year: I was new to a school where everyone already had their friend group established, my parents were just divorced, I just moved into a new house in a new neighbourhood, and my mother, brother, and grandparents all moved away just prior. To top it all off, I was a 14 year old girl.
My transition into BJH was not good. I was not really making friends and I didn’t know how to make any. A lot of girls were mean to me, and the entire world was looking pretty mad to me at that time.
I stopped attending school regularly. And when I would attend, I wasn’t really there. Typically, I went to recess and lunch alone.
But Mr. Fitz is the one who made my days better. He would socialize with me during recess and took an interest in my absence at school. In the “tough love” way that he was famous for, he told me I “had to come to school.”
He may not realize it, but he made a huge impact on who I am today. Some days, he was the only person at school who talked to me—not like a weird new girl, or a desperate loner, or a young student—but like a completely normal person. Other days, he was the only reason I laughed or smiled that whole day, with his crazy in-class jokes.
A small act of kindness that I will never forget is how kind and understanding he was the first week of school during locker assigning. Everyone in our class would have to have a locker partner, but knowing I knew nobody, he pulled me aside and told me not to worry, I could have my own.
He is truly a teacher who changed my life.