5/17/10

Who is working these tear ducts? Someone needs to turn them off.


One of the perks of living in a somewhat small community is that I often run into families that belong to the children I’ve had the pleasure of teaching these past 20 years. (I know, I don’t look a DAY over 30, but that’s another topic altogether.)


I started my career in fifth grade, so many of the children from those years are in their **cough** twenties.

I love it when parents stop me to tell me of the adventures that the kids have experienced, the schools they are attending, and the various successes they’ve enjoyed.

Today was no exception.

I ran into Target for just a few items for school tomorrow: some googly eyes, Q-tips and puffballs. (Don’t ask.) As I was leaving, the mother of one of my previous students stopped me to let me know that her son Jack had just been accepted into medical school! I was not surprised by his success, and felt incredibly proud and pleased for Jack and his family. Jack had invited me one year to an award’s banquet after winning a contest I had prompted him to enter, and I felt a special connection to his family.

As she finished sharing her news, another mother walked by us and grabbed my hand. SHE had great news about HER son, and I turned my attention to her, as Jack's mother left the store.

She shared that her boy Matthew had recently graduated from a local technical college, and was awarded degrees in construction management and architectural something or other.


I don’t remember the last part, because honestly my eyes were tearing up after looking at a photo that she quickly pulled from her purse. He was standing proudly with his family, wearing an amazing graduation robe and holding a diploma.


I remember Matt as a spirited youth- a bit of a troublemaker with a quick smile and brilliant blue eyes. He was in and out of a bit of trouble for most of the years that he was in school. He was one of those bad boys that I had always hoped would find his way.


And apparently, he has.


THAT moment – that moment that reinforced my belief that ALL of us can succeed? That made my night.


And that is one of the reasons that I do what I do.


Because I hold in my heart the knowledge that each and every child matters, and each and every child can succeed.



(Now someone pass me some tissues- I'm all verklempt again.)

39 comments:

ChiTown Girl said...

Those are the moments we NEED to remind us why we do what we do every single day. :)

ChiTown Girl said...

Oh, and just be glad you're running into the MOMs at the store, and not the KIDs at a bar!! Yeah....good times, good times....

Liss said...

Good lord woman, I need tissues!! That is beautiful! xx

Brian Miller said...

those are the moments that make it all worth it...one of the kids from my youth group is married and has kids now...it makes me cry...

Annie @ astonesthrowfrominsanity said...

Love when that happens! Recently I went to the wedding of a former students. It was so lovely to see how she had blossomed. I was ok until she spoke at the reception. Whew! The little girl I knew was a woman and I was blessed enough to be a part of it. Awesome!

Steven Anthony said...

What a wonderful feeling, knowing you had a part in there success;) beautiful.

SkylersDad said...

You completely rock for making a difference to all of those kids!

Gigi said...

AWESOME! And this is why teachers rock. Period!

風俗被リンク said...

Haha, that's good, and there're many beautiful memories.

The Broad said...

I have to quit reading these threads... I am weeping over everything tonight.

I have said this before, but I like to repeat myself ... I wish I had had you as a teacher.. of course, that would probably have meant you would be a teacher when you were in kindergarten .. or something ..

J.J. said...

How great is that?! : )

One of my favorite teachers from high school would eat chalk on the first day of class to show us how "tough" he was (and not to mess with him).

I still can't remember half the stuff he taught me...except NOT to each chalk.

Kate said...

I don't remember anything about my childhood, but I do know that when I left the treatment center I went to for my "slight" drinking problem, not a damn one of them thought I was going to make it. And here I am 3 1/2 years later - sober and happy. They all kinda tear up when I show up there to speak.

Captain Dumbass said...

Makes we want to give you a big hug.

Scope said...

Has any of your ex-students ever served you at the liquor store?

The Empress said...

There is no nobler profession, than a teacher...that's what methinks.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Aw, thank goodness for teachers like you!!

only a movie said...

I love bumping into former students. I especially like to bump into former bad boys to see them all grown up (oh, wait, all my students are bad boys...)

I have a post in drafts on a similar topic.

xo

WeaselMomma said...

Thank God you never taught the Menendez Brothers. Although. had you had them in class - things may have been very different.

Frau said...

Omg you are killing me...gonna run out of tissues.I'm one of those adults that use to be a child that a teacher made a difference in my life when needed. I thank you it's stories like that, that make the hard days worth your job.

middleagedcrazywoman said...

Aww... here are some tissues..

I still get flabergasted when I see children I have taken care of in their grown up forms - throws me for a loop as they are still little 2 year olds in my head. Makes me cry a little when they recognize me.

I know you said not to ask but what were you doing with the googly eyes, q-tips and puff balls?!? I'm thinking craftie type stuff..

M

Jules said...

Great post, a reminder that whether a teacher or not we all can save a child if we just try.

Cheryl said...

Loved this post all to hell and back. Success from both ends of the spectrum. Glad you were part of their lives.

Desert Songbird said...

Teachers ROCK.

That is all. :)

KiKi said...

Loved this. Coming from a small town myself -- although not a teacher -- I am always fascinated to hear about the young kids I babysat once upon a time ago and where their lives have taken them...the successes they've achieved, the families they've created. Always makes me smile...and of course wonder where the time has gone. The images of them as children seem like yesterday....

Scary Mommy said...

Oh, Lord. And I happen to be watching Steel Magnolias. I'm a mess.

P.S. Congrats on your Parents Picks pre-nomination! :) http://www.parentsconnect.com/parents-picks/best-parenting-blogs

Charmaine said...

Damn.

Malisa said...

You gave me chill bumps. I love you!

Malisa

Red Shoes said...

This makes for a good post... I've been teaching for 21 years... *koff koff koff* I'm always taken aback when I see former students that have moved on in their lives... and how sometimes they cycle back to see you... visit... maybe to thank you for something you did... or didn't do...

Great post!!

~shoes~

Wild Child said...

I wonder, maybe I should have taken that teaching path. Maybe I would have found it more fulfilling than what I do right now. Ah the whims of youth and to hindsight being 20/20.

Diane J. said...

Well crud, keep passing those tissues, I need some, too. I'm glad you posted this. My 15-year-old has a great sense of humor and a good heart, but his studies haven't always been smooth. It's encouraging to know that at some point they grow up and do well.

Thank you for passing along the encouragement.

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Far Side of Fifty said...

This is why you are such a damn good teacher:)

Joanie M said...

I can't wait to run into Tim's Kindergarten teacher. She wanted to keep Tim back because he was a daydreamer (he was bored!), and she was VERY concerned because he couldn't skip. That's right, my BOY couldn't skip. Uh, Sue? He's a boy. I never taught him to skip. I really need to tell her that my daydreaming non-skipper just graduated Summa Cum Laude from East Stroudsburg University. Guess he wasn't bored any more.

Dawn said...

Vodka, Are we cut from the same cloth?? Maybe it is just this time of year.
I,too, have my current post on some of these little darlings.

Clark Kent's Lunchbox said...

...and you are exceptional at what you do as well.

Missy said...

One of my proudest moments as a teacher was having a former student show up fresh out of prison AND with a tattoo with my name in the middle of a skull. NO lie!

phd in yogurtry said...

Especially with teachers like you to get them started :)

kanishk said...

What a wonderful feeling,
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CatLadyLarew said...

That is what it's all about... doing what you can to see that the special part of each child shines through! Congratulations on a job well done!