Tales of a 5th Grade Everything

An Afro American article about us in Annapolis. I’m 3rd from the left.

We all have at least one teacher from when we were growing up, that we look back on, and remember fondly as the most amazing person in our admittedly, small worlds. From a few conversations I’ve had with close friends and family, these were usually teachers that you just wanted to impress so badly with your school work and comprehension of their lessons, that you almost always shot your hand up to answer a question they asked. If you’re like me, you dreaded seeing a substitute teacher filling in for them. I hope we all have at least one, because I was blessed to have two of them in elementary school.

The first of the two was Ms. Pamela Ahmed. She was my kindergarten teacher, and two years later–in a different school at that–she was my 2nd grade teacher as well. I thought I was the luckiest boy in the world for getting a whole extra year with Ms. Ahmed. This was the lady that was tasked with teaching me the very basics of counting numbers and reading. When fate conspired to bring us back together in 2nd grade, I just knew it was so I could show her how much I’d learned since I’d gone off to become a man. Do you know how much you pick up between kindergarten and 2nd grade? Everything. You learn everything worth knowing. That whole school year played out like a dream. We were reunited and it felt so good.

I’m pretty sure Ms. Ahmed was my first crush.

The second person on my dream team is my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Devereaux Lunn. This man embodied what I thought it meant to be a great Black man. He was strong, and smart…really smart, but more importantly, he cared about us. I was raised by a single mom, and as such never afforded the luxury of a father figure in my life. Outside of my grandfather, Mr. Lunn was probably the most influential man in my life at that young age. He wasn’t overly tough on us, but as he says in that Afro-American
article, he was “relentless” with his expectation of “excellence.” A conversation with a friend yesterday, sent me spiraling down the rabbit hole of Google, looking for these people who were so important in my life. I found Mr. Lunn and learned he’s still teaching 5th graders in Baltimore. I imagine him looking the exact same today, only with beard heavy on the salt, and light on the pepper and a slower gait. I know he’s still as demanding of his students.

I couldn’t find any info on whether Ms. Ahmed still teaches, but almost unbelievably, she and Mr. Lunn married each other when I was still a kid, so I hope she’s still in education. I like the idea of that particular power couple in the Baltimore City school system.

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