About Me

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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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Single Seed

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.

21 comments:

Rosie said...

every little helps towards the whole...well done for cultivating the green shoots

CherryPie said...

I have a great respect and gratitude for some of my teachers. I am sure a lot more of your students feel the same way about you :-)

photowannabe said...

I wish I had you for a teacher...I have a few that I feel gave me a good start on life but most I think were just doing a job. Perhaps it was my era growing up. My, I do sound cynical.
How wonderful to see your students again and its so nice that they remember you.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

What a great tale and how uplifting for you.

Even as just the school secretary I am very aware of the influence I may have, the English thing appears to especially get them!

CrazyCath said...

That must have felt so good. To know you made a difference...
Well done you!

RiverPoet said...

I would think that was the best part of being a teacher, to know that you left such an imprint on a young life.

Beautiful story...Peace - D

Neva said...

Leslie, what a great story.....you must have enjoyed that meeting!

Jo said...

Wow, what a wonderful compliment. I'm sure a lot more of your students remember you than you realize. Teachers make a huge impact of their students lives, and I have a feeling you were a fabulous teacher!

Daryl said...

How lovely ..

I had a horrible French teacher ... thankfully a cousin was a Fulbright Scholar who studied French at the Sorbonne (and later taught it at a college in NY) and tutored me ... sigh ... I wish you'd been my teacher, Leslie!

:-Daryl

Powell River Books said...

How wonderful to stay connected with your students. I know what you mean about students not thinking their teachers have a life outside of the classroom. I taught kindergarten. Once I saw a student in the market and she said, "What are you doing here?" Obviously I not only didn't have a life outside the classroom, but I didn't need to eat either. I loved the little ones so much. I am now far, far away from my students in both time and place, but I often wonder how some of them are doing. - Margy

Pear tree cottage! said...

How wonderful that you and your students have a special bond like that.

We, I will admit have the same with our apprentices after they have learn't all there is to know over the 4 years and go out on their own often at nights we hear from them asking a question or two of my husband......we were at their weddings and thier babies are always announced to us with joy.....isn't a good feeling knowing you have helped others.

Lee-ann

jmb said...

Lovely story Leslie. You slog away for years never knowing if you make a difference so to find out that you do is wonderful.

My daughter teaches in the small community (8,000, a commuter community to NYC)where she lives and at first she hated running into students and parents but now she loves it.

Bcwillow said...

I miss seeing the kids and finding out what they are up to! Facebook reveals too much of the stuff I don't want to know about them! Glad you had a happy moment!

Maggie May said...

That makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it? You gave her a good start in life.

Russell said...

What a great post!

Yes, a real life outside the classroom!! Heh!! I remember as a child believing that my teachers LIVED in the school hosue (and they probably did to a large extent!). I could not imagine a teacher going to the bathroom, shopping, having a family, etc.!

I was always amazed they actually ate food in the cafeteria! But I figured they did that to keep an eye on us!! Heh!!!

Wonderful post and very, very true!!!

Ruth D~ said...

Ahh Leslie, your influence lingers and mattered. How absolutely special!

david mcmahon said...

Two months ago, I was very privileged to see how wonderfully a former student of yours showed instant delight at seeing you.

Lehners in France said...

Hi I arrived via David. A truly lovely post, it must feel so good to have made such a positive impact on so many young lives. Sounds like you were a great French teacher and one who "high fives" too! I did German at school and all I can remember about Mr Austen is that he had two English setters! Bon continuation! Debs x

Moannie said...

We all need to know that we have made a mark,and to plant a seed in someones mind that grew and ripened must give you a glow..
Teaching is a noble profession.

Here from David's POTD

Sandi McBride said...

Coming from a family of Teachers, I always love to read about their successes...so glad to read about yours! Teachers, the unsung heroes of the world!!!
Congrats on the Post of the Day mention from David's...which is how I found you!
Sandi

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