Teaching is hard work.
And every teacher, no matter how seasoned nor how green around the ears, needs encouragement from time to time–a little pat on the back. A little proof that he or she is making a difference. A little reassurance that the effort, time and lack of sufficient paychecks are producing something greater than mere chalk dust in the tray at the end of the day.
I got that encouragement last week, when a former student contacted me. Ten years ago, I had the privilege of being this student’s fourth-grade teacher. And although our paths had separated over the years, she got back in touch with me when she graduated from high school this past spring. She just wanted to tell me that I am still her favorite teacher and to ask if we could have lunch before she went off to college.
So we did. We met at a local restaurant and got caught up. I was astounded by how quickly the little girl who had captured my heart with her sweet spirit all those years ago had grown into a beautiful woman, taller than I, and full of dreams, passion and purpose. What a gift, a blessing, to know that I somehow shaped her life–even if only in a meager way for one short year.
Infamous American historian Jacques Barzun once said, “In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years.” But do not doubt that the fruit will ripen in time. Persevere, carry on, wipe the chalk dust out of the tray and know that you, Teacher, are making a difference.
Author: Elizabeth Cossick, M.Ed.