I just responded to a post on should teachers be honored, and it reminded me of a little tomboy, Teresa, that I had in 6th grade, who never wore a dress and was constantly being dragged out of the school yard tree hanging upside down. Years later I received a phone call from her asking if I would attend her graduation from law school. She told me if it wasn't for me being her teacher, she wouldn't be where she is today. I didn't think that I made that kind of impression on her, but I guess I did. This is what I call honoring a teacher!
Now I am sure that YOU have some stories to share and since it is at the end of the school year and things are so hectic, we might need a story and a smile to get us through the last few weeks.
So could you share a story?
Just got a note the other day from a former student who found me through Facebook -- he's now an applications engineer working for Facebook! I taught him when he was in middle school, and he went on to get an applied math degree from Harvard. His Facebook message to me said that he was at his parents' house cleaning out his old stuff, and he came across a note from me that he had kept (it had been about 15 years since I wrote it). Who knew that something I'd scribbled while grading his paper would have been something he deemed worthy of saving?
I think that's something we need to keep in mind. We often focus on the "big picture," but it's the little things that kids remember. My co-worker loves to recite the following Maya Angelou quote: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
WOW, Patrick, thank you for sharing your story, and I am sure that there are many more like yours out there. That quote reminds me about the attitude quote, "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."
Now you have me hanging in anticipation, do you want to share what was on that paper that you wrote? That would explain why he kept it all these years. I think that the more the teacher expects out of their students and the harder they were as a facilitator, those are the teachers who are admired and remembered.......but of course, not for years later!
You both have great stories and reading them started off my day on the right foot! Isn't it amazing the impact that teachers make, many times not realizing it until years later, possibly never. I think that most of the "joys of teaching" are small and daily occurences and so engrained in us, that the stories don't even make it to our dinner table most of the time. As I think about examples that have been rewarding for me as a teacher, I can't help but think about Dulce. Dulce was a 6th grade girl in an inner city school who admittedly (read: told me every day) hated school and always had. She was one of those, you know... didn't try, didn't smile, didn't talk, didn't raise hand, didn't didn't didn't. Anyways, long story short, I left that class during spring break to take a position at the district office. On my last day with the class, Dulce cried and cried and cried. I hugged her and she whispered to me, "Ms. Lindsey, I don't want you to leave because I was just starting to like school with you as my teacher."
I was with that class only 3/4 of the school year, yet out of all the classes I ever taught, that one sticks out to me more than all the rest. I loved the years that I spent teaching in the suburban middle sclass school. Those kids and parents were wonderful. But the 3/4 year that I taught in an inner city school was by far, my most rewarding year as a teacher.
These are awesome stories. I wanted to let you know that The Reading Teacher (an IRA journal) is looking for short stories just like these for a new feature called View From the Chalkboard.
See under Manuscript Types
View From the Chalkboard essays are approximately 500 words in length and feature profiles of exemplary elementary classroom teachers/classrooms, reflections on your own teaching experiences, advice for new teachers, perspectives on current issues in literacy and education, and so on.
A great opportunity to get published, and to also get a free one-year subscription for yourself or a colleague.
Hope you will consider submitting!
Recently I was conducting a Thinkfinity train the trainer session to a group of teachers. This group was comprised of both veteran classroom teachers and many Tech Coordinators. During the break, a young man (tech coordinator) came up to me and said - "You may not remember but you were the first college professor I had. I was a freshman and you were the teacher in my first class of my first semester."
I was ...
I said "Well was I any good???" LOL -
I had to laugh and try to remember waaaaaaay back when.... a fun reminder that while we may not hear about it very often, teachers are making an impression and having an impact in the classroom every day.
At five years old, he sat in the classroom huddled into his book. It was Stop Drop and Read time. The classroom was spattered with small child "readers" who were quietly looking over their book choices, and settling in for a good "read"! He ended up against the wall on the carpet, next to the teachers rocking chair where she sat with her own book to read. (A good model for all!) She could hear small voices around the room, quiet verbal expressions of picture walking through story oicture books. But what she became enthrawled with, was the boy sitting next to her chair, on the floor. He had chosen Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess and was beginning on his first page. His voice was strong but quiet, "I am Sam." As he turned the page, with learned expression he read, "That Sam I Am, That Sam I Am, I do not like that Sam I Am!". She knew he had heard this story several times before and waited. As the boy turned another page, she watched him glance at the pictures. As his eyes slowly lowered to the words at the bottom of the page, his slow and halted verbal expression let her know that he no longer knew the words to the story in his head. He studied the words beneath the pictures and began again, ever so slowly..."Do - y-ou - l-i-ke - g-r-een e-gg-s and h-am?" Using his ability to say the sounds he saw in each word, he cautiously and thoughtfully continued, "I - do - n-ot - l-i-ke - g-r-een - e-ggs - and - h-am, I do n-ot l-ike th-em S-am I Am!"
She felt the absolutely glorious sensation that comes with, "I am witnessing a READER, truly reading for his FIRST time"! The boy stopped at the end of that sentence, looked up into the eyes of that teacher, with not just excitement, but knowledge and pride and not believing his own ears, nearly shouted, "Hey, I'm READIN'"!!!
Nearly jumping up with overwhelming enthusiasm, that teacher of kindergardners rang out, "YES YOU ARE - KEEP GOING!"! He did, and nineteen other children gathered around to listen to their classmate read to them!