As teachers and former students ourselves, we know the impact that we can have on students. One just has to think about “rateyourteacher.com” or think back to our impressions of our own past teachers to realize how distinct and ingrained our memories really are. As we embark on another (or perhaps the first) year in the most “noblest of professions”, it seems like a good time to psych ourselves up with such inspirational thoughts before we are rendered irate and exasperated by that particular student who drives us nuts. I originally planned to address one of the suggested topics of discussion regarding your “most remarkable student” and how you were able to make a difference. In the process of reviewing the legions of young adults I’ve come into contact with in the past 10 years of teaching, I digressed and instead became sidetracked with the notion of time. Nothing brings home the quick passing of years like bumping into a former student who is now teaching your own children. For those of you who have also taught for a while, I’m sure you can relate. Mentally flipping through the faces of all my former students in search of the most remarkable brought to mind many who stand out for their compassion, their funny jokes, their temperamental nature, etc. There are also those who are memorable not only for who they were, but also for what they became – the suicide, the innovative scientist, the high school dropout, the successful entrepreneur, the teenage mother, the infamous actor, the murder victim, the accidental death. What struck me as interesting was that for both of us, we remain frozen in time and are lastingly perceived as a grade 8 teacher and a boy/girl of fourteen. All of which made me appreciate the fact that each year with every new batch of students, relationships, interactions and impressions are formed and will mutually impact us in a way that is more profound and enduring than we realize.
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