Today confirmed every single reason that I thought teaching would be a good career for me eight years ago. I had lunch with two former students who are now going away to college. I taught them my second year of teaching when they were in 7th grade. The year after, I was moved to 8th grade, so I had them again. Teaching that group of students two years in a row was the most rewarding time of my seven-year teaching career. I watched them change so much and now they have all graduated high school. These young men are two of the most impressive kids I have ever known. They are accomplished, state-ranked athletes; they are violin players; they are handsome and polite with great personalities, and they are excellent writers and high-achieving students. One of them is going to Vanderbilt and the other is going to Stanford. My heart swells with pride when I think about what great opportunities and experiences lie in their futures. These boys spoke openly about how much I affected them and how they hope that we are always in touch. I have tears in my eyes as I write these words. How lucky am I? It is my JOB to invest in teenagers. I get paid to love kids and teach them the great life skills of writing and reading. Every day of teaching teenagers is a challenge and sometimes they break your heart, but today I was reminded that I really do love what I do. I wanted to become a teacher because I wanted to affect kids’ lives. I had two teachers, about whom I have written in previous posts, who singled me out, invested in me, refused to let me believe that I was anything less than smart, talented, beautiful, and full of potential. I didn’t see those things in myself then; many teenagers don’t really know themselves. They need to be told, and now I get to be the one to tell them. I get to believe in them, challenge them, watch them grow and succeed. I love my job!
Do you, dear reader, have any exceptional teacher stories? Please share!