Yesterday, out of the clear blue, I thought about a former student of mine. She was one of the most challenging students with whom I had ever worked. I had written this post about her a few years back:

I was in HEB checking out when I looked up and recognized the cashier. It was the aunt of a student I taught over 15 years ago. I knew this aunt well since she had to pick up her niece from school on several occasions when behaviors were beyond control. The aunt told me my former student works downtown at one of the big hotels and is doing great. She said she was ‘real proud’ of the way her niece turned out. [She also told me she can’t say the same about her other nieces and nephews.]

I still see that aunt in HEB. She thanks me; we reminisce, laugh, and then go about our business until I see her again. Hearing how well my former student is doing really motivates me to keep “keeping on” and fighting the good fight. It is amazing how just a little bit of feedback can energize and inspire the teacher in us all.

Ironically, I was reminded of this concept yesterday when I picked up the mail. I opened two sets of thank you cards written to me by students from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. The teachers wrote a mini-musical about Juan Pablo and all the students shared lessons learned from their chameleon friend.

Teachers, you may not always get the feedback, but spend time this summer reflecting on how many lives you directly and indirectly touch each year. The small positive ripples you make with your students contribute to creating seismic waves throughout their lives. If you don’t believe me, just ask Juan Pablo.