A Kind and Captivating Voice

One of the most inspiring teachers I’ve ever had the honor of learning from is Paul Miller. Mr. Miller was our librarian, music teacher and Judaic elective teacher. He was amazing, talented and helpful—just to name a few things about him. He taught us the curriculum of reading, writing, Hebrew, etc., but most importantly, he taught me how to love learning and make it fun. He never failed to make me smile with his voice when he sang, or captivate me when he taught. He put his students and teaching first, even when he should’ve had his top priority be himself. He inspired me to love what I do, just as he did, to be kind, just as he always was, and to live life to the fullest, just like he did.

I like to think that he still looks over me and my old classmates, to make sure that we’re doing okay, and because of him, I am okay. Because of him, I see the best side of people, I understand my Jewish heritage, I can live like there’s no tomorrow, and I can’t thank him enough. He was always funny, but never mean, and always talented, but never prideful.

Speaking of talent, I never got tired of hearing his voice. When he sang, everyone around him would want to sing along, but only quietly, so we could still hear him. It was so joyful, and full of hope. He inspired me—I am completely tone deaf—to try and sing, but I knew I could never spread as much happiness with my voice as he could. He inspired me to find any way to spread happiness to people around me. By charity work, telling jokes, or just being nice in general.

I still remember him every day, thinking about how much joy he gave me. I was always so excited to see him, whether in was in class, around school, or at Shabbat services, it was always such a treat to be in his company. His class was especially fun because he just absolutely loved teaching, and his students loved learning. I was so interested in whatever he had to say. I could’ve honestly listened to him give a three-hour lecture on grass growing, and I wouldn’t be bored for one second. I always admired that about him. He had such a way of captivating anyone and everyone he talked to. I always wished we had that in common, and because of him, I try my best to do that, so that others who didn’t have the privilege to have him as a teacher and mentor, can get some tiny piece of what it was like.

I miss him so much, even more every day, but I will always remember him, his lessons, and his aspirations to be the best version of himself he could be, so I can use that to even be a fraction of what he was. I love you, Mr. Miller, I hope you’re looking down and me and classmates, and that you’re proud of us. Thank you.

Marlie Thompson
Jewish Inspiration
Knowledge Topics
Teaching and Learning