We would like to send out a HUGE “Thank You” to all the dedicated teachers out there! It takes patience, understanding and perseverance to inspire and motivate on a daily basis. At the end of the day, after you’ve done your best, you may not know until years later, what kind of influence you had on your students’ lives. But as you’ll see from the stories below, it only takes one teacher to make a difference that will create memories to last a lifetime.
(Stories have been edited for space.)
This teacher figured out what this particular student needed to stay invested in class.
“As a high school senior, I had most of my requirements to graduate, but had a couple filler classes on my schedule. One of those classes was Advanced Spanish. I could tell early on that it wasn’t very advanced, and knew I would be easily bored. I didn’t need the credit to graduate so stopped going to class. You might think that I was about to get into big trouble, but to the contrary, what happened next was rare and very special. My Spanish teacher went to the office, got my schedule and pulled me out of my current class. When she asked me why I wasn’t coming to her class, I told her that it was because I was bored. Upon hearing that, she came up with a solution!
She purchased a book and created an individual program just for me. She could have forgotten about me and given me a failing grade; but instead, she enriched my education and nominated me for honors in Spanish. Rather than being treated as a delinquent and having my scholastic record soiled, I received honors at graduation, y puedo hablar, leer and escribir en espanol (and I can speak, read and write) in Spanish today.” – K.H.
This writer took a tougher class because his teacher believed in him.
”During high school, I wanted to take physics with my physics teacher. However, he only taught Honors Physics and I wasn’t in honors. After telling him about it, he told me he thought I could handle it. He said he would recommend me to be in his class. He is one of the reasons why I went into a science based field.”- S.C
We’re reminded how compassionate and understanding teachers are as one writer wrote. She remembered her 5th grade teacher, Mr. Thompson as being a father figure. She had the opportunity to enter a spelling bee and studied quite hard so she would do well. When it was finally her turn to spell, she fumbled and misspelled a word and was devastated. Her teacher, knowing how hard she studied, stayed there to reassure her, instead of just leaving and going about his day.
Here’s a kindly teacher who took time out of his day to let his student know he mattered.
“One of my favorite teacher’s was also my basketball coach. When I broke my arm playing basketball, he made it a point to come to my house to visit me. I had to stop playing basketball to heal my arm, but he’d still cared enough to call throughout the year to see how I was doing.”- Steven, Chicago
After reading some of these heartwarming stories, do you remember any teachers who inspired you? Did they encourage you to be your best and do your best? What memories do you have of your favorite teachers? You can always let your teacher know you’re thinking of them by sending a kind note or a small gift, such as this beautiful ornament below. And if you remember how your favorite teacher made a difference in your life, use that as fuel to re-energize yourself when you question if you’re getting through to your students. You may not believe it now, but you are making a difference.
To see how one person made a difference for students in New York, check out this video that features Ellen DeGeneres and Humans of New York. It is an inspiring story of how one a project started out in one direction, only to have it evolve into something bigger and better.