When autographing books I often write, “Teachers touch the lives of their students and affect them profoundly.” The impact of what we do on a daily basis is most often unknown to us. But, having written a book recently has given me the chance to connect with a number of former students, and it is one of those stories I wish to share with you.
Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of being featured in the summer issue of Windsor Life Magazine. Soon after, a parent of one of my former students contacted me. He enjoyed the article and wanted me to know that his son was “doing great thanks to teachers like you;” and wanted to know if I could stand to hear “a little parental bragging.” Intrigued, I responded affirmatively—it’s always great to hear about your students and their successes.
His son, now a Ph.D., is living in New the New England area with his wife and three children. He is the co-founder, director, and CEO of a medical research company. His research is paying off, as he has made a deal with a major drug company, and recently was at the White House to receive a Tibbetts award. Dubbed the “Tibbie,” these annual financial awards are presented to small firms, and individuals whose research shows great promise while meeting certain U.S. Government R&D needs.
I sent off an email congratulating my former student on his many successes and wished him well. Two days later, I received a very pleasant and heart-warming response. He wanted me to know what a pleasant surprise it was to see my name in his inbox, and how appreciative he was for the “excellent education” he had received at our school. My editor is one of my colleagues, and our former student related how he still tells stories from both of our classes and referred to us as “all-stars.” Wow! Here I was receiving kudos from such an accomplished individual.
What a pleasant and humbling experience; I never realized the degree of the impression we had made on this young man’s life. As teachers we are blessed with the opportunity to impact the lives of our students every day. As you begin your summer vacation, take time to reflect on the importance of the job that you do, and I urge you to connect with some of your former students—I think you’ll find that many pleasant surprises await.