As I remind people over and over, I taught elementary school for forty-six years. I taught in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia and finally landed in Florida.
I am finally reaping the rewards of all those many years of teaching. I often run into men and women at the Dollar Store or the S&S and I don't recognize these men or women. If I feel like chatting, which has to be after 9:00 AM, I will say, "Tell me your name." And then they do and all I can squeal is, "Oh, my! You grew up!"
Mind you, the children I taught were mostly nine years old.
This week I saw two incredible students I had taught. Unfortunatly, the first man I saw was at 7:45 AM. He asked how I was doing. What was I doing? And my answers were brief. I asked the same questions of him. But, the sad part was, I didn't ask his name but I know he was an excellent student.
This afternoon I stopped in Columbia City at an S&S. As I was climbing in my car, this twenty-0ne year old yelled, "Mrs. George!" I looked up and recognized his face. Fortunately, he said his name. He further said, "You know, Mrs. George. I will never forget you teaching me cursive writing. People tell me all the time that I learned it from old school. Of course I reminded him I also taught him to write essays and stories.
"Speaking of old times, do you remember this?" At which point I snapped my right middle finger and thumb together. SNAP!
"Oh, I will NEVER forget that snap," the young man said. We all sat up and listened. And then this man apologized if he didn't pay attention all the time. I told him, "Hey, you were only nine years old."
And then we hugged.
That, my friends is the reward for teaching...not the money that paid the rent or electricity or gasoline. I really dislike the phrase, "If you can't do anything else, just teach."
Adults telling me about the impact on their life is all the reward I will ever need.