The Real Lessons We Teach
“Down and around and a hat on top.”
That is how my first grade teacher, Mrs. Beachard, taught me how to make a five. I will remember that FOREVER! Many of us became educators because we too wanted to impact the lives of our students forever.
You have probably created something equally clever (or silly) in your classes that your students will remember forever. That is the ultime goal, to have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of our students. Often times however, we have no idea whether or not we are influencing our students the way we want to. And then it happens. When we least expect it, usually when we need it the most, and we are left speechless. We receive an unexpected letter on our desk or an e-mail from a former student who clearly articulates everything we did for him or her while in our class.
I recently received an e-mail from a former student who currently attends Northeastern University. She was a student in my Marketing and Business Management class and while she was my student, I had no idea whether or not I was having an influence on her life. At the time, I don’t think she realized it either.
“First and foremost, I really have to thank you for everything you taught me in high school. I’m tearing up while writing this because I don’t think I really got it until very recently.”
She went on to say that not only did I help prepare her academically, but I helped to shape the type of person she wants to emulate. To say I was flattered was an understatement. To have a student say to me, “…So, THANK YOU for teaching me to always set goals, always work on becoming the best I can be, and always remain consistent, persistent and determined,” is the best form of evaluation and feedback I could possibly receive because it came from a student!
So now that Teacher Appreciation Week is officially over, and you may be feeling overwhelmed and looking forward to summer, I would encourage you to do this; take out those letters and e-mails from former students that you’ve collected since your first year teaching and read them.
Read them to remind yourself that you teach much more than your curriculum. Read them to remind yourself that your students do appreciate you and that you have one of the best jobs in the world because you have the ability to positively impact the lives of kids…FOREVER! Read them to remind yourself that your students remember you not because of all the knowledge you possess, but because of how you make them feel about themselves.
About five minutes before publishing this post, it happened again. Several of my DECA students approached my desk and said to me; “…in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week we wanted to present you with this.”
Again, I was left speechless. What an amazing gift it is to be an educator!