Teachers are some of the first, most influential people in our lives from a young age. And the great ones, even after we’ve left them, stay with us forever.
By: Elizabeth A. Toy
Do you remember a particular teacher in your life that made a huge impact on your life?
I sure do. As a senior in high school, I wasn’t confident in many subjects, but I had one particular teacher whom I’ll always remember. My AP English teacher made a huge mark on who I am today and not just because of what she taught in class.
While she didn’t have the best reputation among the students, (as she was known to be “too strict,” or even “mean,”) I had a much different recollection of her.
Senior year of high school was tough for many reasons. Juggling college applications, maintaining grades, friends, family relationships, music lessons, extra curricular activities, religious practices, and a (secret!) boyfriend was no easy task. It must have been apparent, because Mrs. McIntosh personally reached out to me.
And as you know, for a teenager, one conversation can completely change the perspective with which you see the world.
One day, Mrs. McIntosh invited me out after school for a soda at Friday’s. Uncertain as this was my first time spending any time outside of school with a teacher, I took some time to think about it, then agreed to go and ride it out. After all, I told myself, it would be less than an hour that I would spend with her.
Little did I know, this brief meeting with Mrs. McIntosh would change my mind in more ways than I knew. As she shared her own personal life and struggles with me to illustrate life lessons, I began to see her as a real person, rather than just a teacher who lives at school. While I still highly respected her as a teacher, I began to respect her even more for the dimensions of her life that she so openly revealed to me. More importantly, I began to develop ideas of what respect and making decisions looked like to a more mature and wiser person.
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Many lessons we learn in life don’t quite make sense to us until much later. In fact, some remain dormant in us until time unravels and a trigger brings us back to what a teacher may once have told us. When that happens, enlightenment comes.
Back then, I was too immature and naive to understand all that she told me. But nonetheless, her words stayed with me and years later, the meanings began to unravel.
A single seed of an idea may lay dormant in the mind until it receives enough care and cultivation to grow. Sure, some never do, but the mere inception of those ideas and the tiny beacon of hope that a teacher offers can create endless possibilities for the mind to learn to think — and in turn, make all the difference.
More importantly, Mrs. McIntosh’s care to spend extra time with me to teach me greater lessons, outside of analytical reaching and persuasive essay- writing about life – is something I’ll always cherish. Through that, she showed to me a selfless, universal love for people and life as we know it, more than anything else.
Thank you, teachers, for doing the jobs that may not always pay the most, but that undoubtedly enrich and touch so many lives in and out of academia.
Looking for a new way to count your blessings? Start a gratitude journal today.
P.S. Mrs. McIntosh: if you’re reading this, I didn’t forget MLA format or how to start sentences without conjunctions. Blog writing is just different is all. Thank you for your hope in me.