Being a teacher is much like being a parent sometimes. A teacher prepares for a student arrival like a parent plans for a baby. They decorate their room, they buy supplies, they set goals, they get nervous, and they dream … dreams for health, happiness and success for that child.
Like a parent, teachers educate, discipline, correct, support, laugh with, nurture, and love these young people. And teachers feel proud when a young person advances to the next phase in life. Whether it be the first steps, first words, first A+ test, first date, first college acceptance letter or first career job … teachers share in the happiness and pride of their current or former students. Teachers also silently take a little credit for helping it happen, just like a parent.
As a teacher, this certainly was the case with me. I actually stopped going to my school’s graduation ceremonies because it was so emotional at times. And this is why I am so grateful for the numerous times former students see and recognize me in the community and stop to say “Hi!” – even if I can’t remember the student’s name, I always recognize the faces, and it makes my day. My head swells when a past student goes even further and seeks me out via Facebook, my children, friends, etc., to update me on where they are now in their lives and what successes have followed high school. More often than not, these ex-students additionally go out of their way to thank me for whatever it was that I brought to them in our year(s) together at school. Here is a recent Facebook correspondence I received that warmed my heart:
“Hello! I just wanted to tell you thank you for everything you taught me in high school. I am about to graduate in April with a degree in marketing and a certificate in advertising and sales. You definitely helped influence that decision by making marketing and DECA very memorable times with lots of learning experiences. Just wanted to say thank you and I hope all is well!”
Pride, yep … real pride is what this teacher feels. I helped raise many children and the best reward is a simple thank you or hug. Don’t need gifts, just a note or some appreciative words. Makes the crappy paychecks, long hours, gray hairs, sore back and feet, and heartbreak that I didn’t make a difference for every student, all a faint memory. I am so grateful for these times. It reinforces my belief that we all should remember to reach out and thank others for what they do.
In light of all this pride, I have decided to pay it forward by spreading the word of my student’s achievements and enterprises, so look for them on my Facebook page or website. I encourage others to endorse the achievements of the youth. Compliments, thanks, smiles, and loyalty is a two way street and they take very little time.
Make the most of your day!