Over the years, I have had moments as a teacher so memorable they have left a significant, lasting impression. Imprinting forever in my long-term memory the emotions that were felt when that experience occurred.
I remember a particularly difficult teaching assignment in which I took over a short-term social studies position at the high school level for a teacher with long-term illness. Who actually passed away during my time in his classroom. I was seven months pregnant with our third child, taking on three new-to-me high school courses, mid-way through the term. Not only that, there were special circumstances surrounding my hiring, along with some very special students in the classes I would be teaching. Students who were not easily persuaded or motivated to tow the line. To say it was a challenge would have been an understatement. Overwhelmed was more suitable a word in describing how I felt about my assignment at the time.
Towards the end of June, after exams finished and marks had been submitted, I was helping the school’s graduation committee one day with various tasks associated with the graduation ceremony. At some point, and truthfully- I can’t remember exactly how it happened, a Grade 12 student arrived at my classroom door with a note in hand. After he left, I opened the card, and this is what I read:
Thank you for everything you taught me. I know it was not easy to step in and take over the class, and we had to deal with a lot of unfortunate things. All things considered, you did an excellent job. Thank you for being there and seeing that we learned all that we needed.
Two little words. So simple, yet so powerful. So meaningful. And oh! how motivating to me as the teacher.
The whole of that message was really condensed into two little words of gratitude. Of thankfulness. Words that we use at times without realizing their incredible importance in the life of another. Have we ever stopped to consider them? For there are times when those two little words are the only ones necessary, all that needs to be spoken. For truly, those two little words have all the power to change and impact like no two other little words in the English language. They are influential.
Game changers of the best variety.
They can melt a heart of stone. Can break a cycle of apathy. Can mend a broken fence. Build a bridge. Heal a wound. Make everything worthwhile. Those two words have sway. Gentle authority. And while there are many ways in which these two little words can be spoken. Many ways in which they can be used to convey the full sense of gratitude of which they speak, there really isn’t anything more powerful than the simplicity of those two little words.
Tonight, I want to say thank you.
Thank you to all those students who have crossed my path in years gone by and in these present days.
Thank you to the girl who recognized me at the drugstore two weeks ago as her music teacher back in Grade 1.
Thank you to the young man at Walmart a while back who remembered me from his junior high days.
Thank you to my neighbour’s son who walked with me the other evening and shared his heart as well as happenings of his day with me.
Thank you to my little friend from Grade3 whom I see at the pool twice a week now. Whom I love to chat with and sometimes like to tease.
Thank you to my own seven little ones in kindergarten who have taught me how to love unconditionally.
Thank you to the little boy who met me at the door today and confided to me a heartfelt sorrow. I treasure that trust.
Thank you to the boys and girls of Bloomfield- every one of them. The ones who ask me to supervise hockey games, the ones who chat with me in the halls, the ones whom I work with in extra-curricular activities, the ones who keep me company on duty.
Thank you to the little one who always writes me love letters.
You have blessed me in ways I could never express. My life is fuller, more beautiful. Because of all of you.
And for that and so much more, I am forever grateful