Friday, December 5, 2008

Impact — to the second power

Pin It School was out and I was helping a few students with their homework when my classroom door opened. In walked a student I’d had in my class last year—I’ll call him ‘Joey.” Now, though I hadn’t seen Joey more than once or twice in the past six months I’d heard about how he was doing from his brother…that he had good grades in middle school, and that he’d taken up guitar classes.

Joey paused for a second in the doorway, looking around my new classroom. Upon spotting me he ran across the room, threw his arms around me, and hugged me like he were never going to let go. I patted his back saying something to the effect of, “It’s great to see you again too, Joey.”

He started to cry.

I immediately thought that something must be wrong. Perhaps there were problems at home. Maybe somebody in his family had been hurt. I wondered even if he’d been bullied or somebody had threatened him.

“Joey, what’s wrong?” I asked, concerned.

In response at first he said nothing—he just squeezed even harder. Finally, with a quavering voice through his tears he choked out, “Nothing’s wrong, Mr. Z…I just miss you so much.”

Sometimes, I forget just what a big impact I make on the lives of some of my students—as well as the impact they make on me.

12 comments:

Bee said...

I know exactly what you mean. One of my students from last year brought me a card today, and I was in tears by the time I finished reading it. Inside it was a handwritten note that told me I was her best third grade teacher ever, and how I taught her that she must try her best and that can't is not a word in my classroom. Then at the end she put P.S. You were my best teacher ever.
I really needed to hear that. Sometimes we don't feel like we're reaching them, you know?
My son misses his fifth grade teacher too:(

Lydia said...

You have a lot of "Joey's" that love you Mr. Z and even some "Suzy's".

Gerb said...

Looked like you had the whole string section of an orchestra coming to perform for you on Thursday! Kids don't do that for just anyone.

That Joey kid is amazing... he sure comes around a lot.

Stephen Tefteller said...

So I am not the only one that recognized Joey. Does he know how famous he is?

Seriously, you must be one of a kind.

Anonymous said...

You have been an example to all the kids, even the ones that didn't get the opportunity to be in your class. All children look up to you.
You are a very special person.
KJ

smalltoes said...

You're amazing and I love you!

cari said...

I'm sure it's easy to forget but you make a HUGE impact on all your students. Don't forget that (even if certain former students --- a.k.a. my boys --- never come see you.) You are still the topic of many a conversation in our home. And whenever we think of moving (that's always an option) Max tears up and says, "Can I still be in Mr. Z's class?" He can't get to 5th grade fast enough!

P.S. What are you going to do when you actually get a kid named Joey in your class? Just wondering. :)

jacs said...

mister z youre my hero (haha get it?)

Kris said...

It is not just students that you have an impact on.

Teachinfourth said...

Bee - Isn't that the greatest feeling?

Lydia - It's always nice to hear that once and awhile, you know? A good 'reminder' of why I do what I do.

Gerb - He sure does. If he were a real kid all wrapped up in one he'd not only be amazing, but with some deeply-seeded psychological problems as well.

ST - He is a pretty popular kid...

KJ - Thanks. I won't lie when I say that this kind of thing really catches me by surprise.

Shay-Shay - (wink) I smile at you.

Cari - When you told me that Jake still reads aloud with voices, it made my day. Just knowing that something stuck with a student from their time in my classroom is heartwarming.

I look forward to the "Maximum" year of fun with the fourth installment of the clan.

As for a real Joey? Hmmmm...I guess I could always request that I never get one...that or he'll be seriously misjudged by everyone around.

Jacs - Well, you need somebody to be the wind beneath your wings, right?

Kris - Yeah, there was this auto accident the other day...

Just kidding. I have to be honest that I am grateful for the people who've come into my life. They've made a HUGE difference.

Carmen Rejas said...

Mr. Z - You are a great teacher that not only teaches the subject but you teach by example. There are too many things in life that discourage our children; however you positivism, enthusiasm and the unique way you teach make a big difference in their lives. You are a great teacher. I think that it is natural for you to be fun because that is part of your personality that the children love. They trust you because you don't lie to them and because you are more than a teacher....you are a friend.

andrea said...

That is awesome! You are loved by so many! You are so well rounded with the kids, you are strict and mean busiess at the same time the kids know you really care for and love them.The kids have a great respect for you. That takes special talent. There is no better place you could possibly be then in the class room! If only there could be more of you. WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!

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