Today I am asked to write about my biggest accomplishment in teaching that no one knows about. This is hard. Every time I think of something, I realize I’ve already discussed it. I guess I’m not too shy about sharing my accomplishments.
It’s late, and I just got returned home from Back to School Night after a 13-hour day. After thinking for a while, I realized I could talk about something that happened just tonight. (I haven’t had time to brag about it yet.)
A parent of a former student came up to me and introduced herself (I apparently did not meet her when I had her son). She told me how her son still talks about me all the time and wanted to make sure I knew what a positive impact I had on him. That was it. It was a brief conversation in the hall, but I was so glad she took the time to tell me. Although I had a good relationship with her son, I would never had known that I was a particularly memorable teacher for him had she not told me.
I guess these moments are what I am most proud of. It’s reaffirming to hear that you have made a difference in the life of a child. I learn this in many subtle ways, such as from the students who return to visit my classroom, and even from a more direct thank-you from the students and parents themselves. This is not, however, a regular occurrence. I do not expect students and teachers to thank me; after all, how often did I express gratitude to my child’s teachers and mentors? When it happens, though, I do appreciate it.