BY MIKE RIEZEBOS: Secondary Math Teacher
What do you see when you look at the picture above? A student’s first car? A vehicle ready for donation? A hunk of junk?
Well, it isn’t any of the above. It’s my car, or as it’s affectionately known by the staff, the “Pi Mobile.”
My wife wants nothing to do with that car anymore, she is embarrassed to drive in it. I’ve got carte blanche permission to buy a new car any time. Eat your heart out, husbands! How many of you have that kind of permission?
So why do I still drive the Pi Mobile? Because when I look at it, I see more than a dirty, beat up car that’s past its prime. I see community, gifted students, and evidence of authentic learning.
You think it looks bad now?
I got in a minor accident last year. Sun blindness…I couldn’t see a foot in front of my car. I was going VERY slowly and suddenly there was a car in front of me. My car had a lot of cosmetic damage. You think it looks bad now? Hah!
I was close to the school so I turned around and found Gary, our shop teacher, and he assured me I could drive it home and things would be okay. Later, Gary made some calls and found me a “new” rad support and “matching” hood. I talked to George, one of our fearless bus drivers, and he offered to repair the minor damage to the car I hit (it turns out I knew the guy). Jeff, one of our vice principals, let me borrow his truck to get my “new” hood and rad support, and also lent me a car for a few days while mine was in the school shop.
Then there were the many students in the mechanics class that helped put the Pi Mobile back together. Since I’m a math teacher, they even made me the custom pi symbol to put on what’s left of my grill.
I see community. I see people willing to go the extra mile for one another because that’s what we do here at ACS.
I’m a math teacher. I find “x” all day…that’s a gift alright! But when you need to fix a car, the x thing isn’t always so handy. I see my students when I look at my car and their many unique God given gifts. They did for me what I couldn’t do.
Putting it back together
I got daily updates from my students on the progress of the car during “the big repair.” I’ll never forget one of those conversations:
Student: “Mr. Riezebos!”
Student: “I took a sawzall to your car today!” (Imagine a grin reaching from ear to ear.)
Me: “Normally that would terrify me, but today I’ll let it slide. You can put it back together again, right?” (Imagine some slight panic in my voice.)
Student: “Yup. Sure thing, Mr. Riezebos. It’ll be ready to go again tomorrow.”
I think the students learned a lot fixing my car, and the Pi Mobile keeps offering new opportunities for the students to learn. In this school year alone it has needed oil changes, an air filter, brakes, more oil changes, spark plugs. As long as it’s around, they’ll have something to learn and do.
It may be dirty, it might be an eye sore, it may burn oil, but when I look at it I see a lot more than a car. I see a caring community of gifted people willing to support one another.
The Pi Mobile sums up Abbotsford Christian School. Maybe I should get some big “Mind. Heart. Soul.” stickers for the car. Maybe my wife will drive in it with me then…