Graduations are over, and it’s a time that I reflect. The school year has ended and children move on. Actually, they move forward. I know they do. Because they come back and tell me wonderful things that are happening in their lives. They walk in with a new book, and can’t wait to tell me stories. They simply show up to say Hi. Oh, how they love that big hug and things I whisper in their ear. “Once an Aqua Roomer, always an Aqua Roomer.”
I don’t think they know why they come back; they just want to return and feel it once again. This year I was invited to four high school graduation parties of former students. Four! I find that amazing for a preschool teacher.
When I first started teaching, I read a story in Chicken Soup For The Soul by Eric Butterworth. It cemented why I teach, and became my brass ring, my shining star, my hope that one day I could be her. Here is the story:
A college professor had his sociology class go into the Baltimore slums to get case histories of 200 young boys. They were asked to write an evaluation of each boy’s future. In every case the students wrote, “He hasn’t got a chance.” Twenty-five years later another sociology professor came across the earlier study. He had his students follow up on the project to see what happened to these boys. With the exception of 20 boys who had moved away or had died, the students learned that 176 of the remaining 180 had achieved more than ordinary success as lawyers, doctors and businessmen.
The professor was astounded and decided to pursue the matter further. Fortunately, all the men were in the area and he was able to ask each one, “How do you account for your success?” In each case the reply came with a feeling, “There was a teacher.”
The teacher was still alive, so he sought her out and asked the old but still alert lady what magic formula she had used to pull these boys out of the slums into successful achievement.
The teacher’s eyes sparkled and her lips broke into a gentle smile. “It’s really very simple”, she said. “I loved those boys.”
She loved them and they knew it! It really is that simple. And as Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
People will never forget how you made them feel.
There’s much more. In teaching, when a child feels loved, s/he can open their mind to learning. A closed heart is a closed door and a closed mind. Open a heart, and the world is ready to be explored.