When I first heard of the teachers change lives posts, I immediately thought back to one teacher who never gave up on me. Mr. Dean Tilley at St. Peter’s Junior High School. The year was 2006, and I was in grade eight. I had transferred from another school that year, and like most kids, I was having a hard time with the change. Not only this, but my parents went through a divorce that year, and I was at my all time low. I began to struggle in school, lost interest in my hobbies, and began to go down the “wrong road in life”. Meanwhile, Mr. Tilley was somehow able to see the good in me, and never gave up. He would often make conversations with me, letting me know that he was always there if I needed to talk about anything.
He never knew how much that meant to me, just knowing he was there, and that he helped me to turn my life around. I didn’t want to let Mr. Tilley down, so I kept going to school and set goals. The years went on, I remembered Mr. Tilley and some of the coping skills he had taught me. For example: in stressful situations he told me to take my thumb and middle finger tip, and press them together. This helped to concentrate and to put the stress in between my fingers and just crush it. I think he taught this to help with public speaking.
Years later, when I graduated high school, I asked Mr. Tilley to be a reference for me to apply to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. He agreed and was very happy for me! This also meant a lot because most people had the mentality that I would never be able to do that career because of my troubled past. Long story short, I was accepted into the RNC police department and I have been an officer for 3 years now. I cannot help but wonder without Mr. Tilley – where I would be in life? He helped me to get through the toughest part of my life and pull myself back onto the “right road”. I would also like to add that I still use that finger tip-stress-crushing technique quite often. As a police officer I am thrown into very serious and stressful situations, that tip still helps me today!
All in all, Mr. Tilley if you see this, I just wanted to say thank you. You truly changed my life for the better, and for that, I’m extremely grateful.
– Former Student,
Constable Justin Pearcey #863