A teacher’s job can be challenging at times. The day to day hustle and bustle of public school will certainly give a teacher stress headaches during the school year. It’s a thankless job, for sure.
I often wonder how my parents spent thirty years each in the profession. I admit, I don’t think I’ll last that long. It’s been twelve years for me and I’m certain my teaching career will come to an end sooner than later.
While I spend most days complaining to my family members, friends, and anyone who’ll listen, about my crazy students I have experienced many joys throughout my career.
Just yesterday, as I was shopping for my children’s school uniforms and supplies, I passed a man that looked vaguely familiar. I couldn’t see him well so I asked my kids a strange question, “Does that man have one arm?” Yes, they replied.
I quickly called the gentleman over to me and asked him various questions. He responded positively and that’s when I knew it was him. It was Jeff, my student.
After I graduated from college I got my first teaching assignment as a language arts teacher at a middle school in South Carolina. I was twenty-two years old.
Among all the 8th graders there was one boy who stood out from the crowd. He was kind, obedient and maintained a positive attitude. He was an avid baseball player and seemed to be very athletic. Jeff was his name. I remember Jeff so well because he was quite popular among his peers. I also remember Jeff because he was born with one arm.
I’ve thought of him a few times over the years and wondered what became of him. Now I know. Jeff is a baseball coach, still living in South Carolina. He is just as pleasant and kind as he was all those years ago. And guess what…14 years later, he remembers me.
This is the best part of my job. While these moments are few and far between, it’s an absolute joy for a teacher to see her students years later. We remember them as they were and marvel in their lives now.
So, while most days I feel that my teaching is in vain seeing Jeff made me realize that all my hard work does make a difference in the lives of my students.