When I was a young girl, I never gave my teachers a thought outside of school. I guess it never occurred to me that they had a real life outside of that classroom. But there are a few that stay in my memory for one reason or another.
When I became a teacher, it suddenly occurred to me how much I not only loved the profession, but also my students. I wonder how many teachers thought of me as someone special and wondered how I might live my life and where I might end up as an adult. I would often watch my kids as they conscientiously did their work and my mind would wander to the future. This one will be an architect, that one a doctor, that other one will struggle but eventually succeed, and this one right in front of me will outgrow his antagonistic attitude.
I don't think my students ever really thought of me as someone who had a real life outside of my classroom. However, my last posting was at a fairly small school in the community where I live and parents were quite involved with the school. As a result, I'd often run into my students and their parents as we went about our ordinary lives - the best place to meet was at our local grocery store and the kids would see me as a normal person just like their own parents. During our summer village market days, lots of former students would run up to me and give me huge hugs and ask how I was.
I was doing a bit of grocery shopping this morning and ran into a former student who has graduated from high school. I'd heard that she was planning to become a nurse - what an honourable profession and one I had never thought of for her. As I approached the coffee beans and grinders, she was working with an older lady and I cheerily said,
"Hi L***! How are you?"
"Oh, hi Mrs. Cummings! I'm great, thanks. How are you?" she responded.
So we chit-chatted a bit, but I didn't want to keep her from her work, so after I'd ground my coffee beans and began to continue on with my shopping, I added,
"So, L***, I heard you're going into nursing. Is that right?"
"Well, actually, I'm going to work for a year to save up money for university. And then I'm going to study languages. I took French all the way to grade 12 and I'd like to do something in that area."
And she blushed.
Obviously, I had made an impact on this girl's life. I didn't make a big deal out of it, though, but gave her a high five and simply said, "Good for you! Best of luck!" and carried on.
As I turned the corner of the aisle, I overheard her telling the older lady that I was her French teacher when she was in elementary school.
So, as a flower grows and spreads its seeds, so does a teacher help her students find a tiny little spot within themselves so that they, too, can go out into the world and spread more seeds.
She made my day.
- Delta, British Columbia, Canada
- I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.