On Teaching

Teaching is rewarding and unrewarding in the same breath.

On one end you are helping a small life learn to read, learn how to multiply and divide… at the end of the year you see the growth, and you feel proud that you played a part.

But did you teach them enough to guide them through the rest of their lives?

I may never find that out…

In the start of education they tell us the story of Tommy and his teacher. She disdained him when he first came to school, smelly and distant until one day he brought her a half used bottle of perfume for a christmas gift, it had belonged to his mother who passed away. He wanted his teacher to wear it because it would remind him of her. This moved her to tears…. she started tutoring him to ensure his sucess, he left her class excelling…. 15 or so years later he contacted her to thank her for the influence she had on his life. He became a doctor and wanted her to walk him down the aisle on his wedding day…. Usually not a dry eye is in the room once this story is told, not even in the fifth retelling…

But that doesnt usually happen does it?

I tried to encourage them to get in touch with me this yera. I told them if they wrote me a letter when they were done with highschool and about to go to college…to write me or contact me so i could give them a graduation present…..

Although all my seven year old students smiled and sincerely promised they would, I know they will soon forget. There is much time in these next ten years for them to forget one teacher among many.

So, though I may be happy with my job at the end of the school year, i will never truly know if they actualized their potential….

It’s so hard to see what these children could be…. but with all the obstacles, of poverty, unequal education and lack of family support they may not be able to overcome… again the quote of jesse owens applies: The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself–the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us–that’s where it’s at.”

I hope they all struggle valiantly and I hope they persevere….

and the selfish part of me hopes, that i will find out one day…

1 thought on “On Teaching”

  1. I do know some people who really hang on to their elementary school teachers &#8212 even one person who picked his third-grade teacher when he made STAR student. And I definitely still remember mine, although I don’t know how to contact them. I would if I could, though.


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