This past summer I befriended a new TFA corps member named Spencer Smith. For five months I followed his journey from his teacher training to his experiences in his Detroit classroom. Sometimes I’d needle him about being in TFA, but he always took it in stride. The other day I noticed that Spencer had not updated his blog or his Twitter account in some time so I wrote him a message, which he did not respond to. Yesterday I learned why. Spencer experienced a terrible car crash that caused serious injury all over his body including his brain.
To get a sense of what kind of the kind of person Spencer is, you can watch the interview I did with him on my Spreecast show by clicking here. The fact that he was willing to have a public chat with me, knowing my stance on TFA was a pretty brave thing to do and showed that he was someone who truly is interested in considering all points of view on issues he cared about.
Spencer keeps a blog in which he records his complex thoughts about education reform and about teaching. In a post I particularly appreciated, he responded to one of my old posts where I questioned why new TFA teachers rarely blog about their experiences. In all his writing, you get the sense about what a decent and thoughtful person Spencer is.
I mostly kept in touch with Spencer on Twitter, where he would celebrate when we agreed on something. Two weeks before the accident, he wrote:
And a week later we joked around a little about another agreement:
When bad things happen to good people, I don’t know whether to feel religious, like it is somehow part of God’s plan, or whether to detach myself from emotions and think that it is just probability and a certain percent of people are going to suffer through things like this and just hope that the people I know will be lucky enough to avoid them. Neither analysis makes me feel much better. All I know is that a great person has been injured very badly and he and his family are suffering. Spencer is determined, though, to return to the classroom and teach when he is able.
I’ve never asked the readers of my blog to do anything like this before, but if you can find it in your hearts to send some financial support to his family as there are surely many many medical bills and rehabilitation bills that need to be paid. I will be sending some money, myself, and I encourage others to send an amount, even a small one, whatever you can afford.
Mail donations to:SPENCER SMITH TEACH ON c/o Fifth Third Bank 790 Gardner Road Springboro, OH 45066