Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Legacy We Leave Behind

     This weekend I was able to go to my wife’s 20th high school reunion.  It was a great time of eating, talking, and reminiscing.  As the conversation bounced from topic to topic I was able to hear story after story of teachers that the classmates remembered. 
    The classmates spoke of one gentleman who would always fall asleep during filmstrips and would be awoken only when the film began to slap against the wheel.  Other teachers had regular phrases such as, “You’re sinking fast and need someone to throw you a life line.  Jerry, help her out with the answer.”  Still other stories described a few teachers that gave out huge worthless assignments or acted in spooky ways that seemed to have scared the classmates for years. 
    Throughout these stories, I heard the classmates describe their favorite teachers as well.  They talked about the lessons that they had learned and the impact these teachers had made on the classmates lives.  At one point someone started reciting a certain lesson and the rest of the classmates joined in a chorus repeating the phrases they had memorized many years before.  Another student recalled how a teacher had motivated him to choose his professional career with a single conversation.  It was powerful to hear that each one of the classmates had been forever changed by the teachers that they had. 
     As I start back to school tomorrow, I am going to keep in mind the stories that I have heard.  I’ll have 180 days with my class this year.  My words and actions will be seen and heard by my students and will become woven into their very lives.  Years from now my students will be sitting around talking to someone, maybe even me, and they will remember a moment we shared in time.  My hope is that this memory will be a good one, and that the lives of my students will become better, because of the time they spend with me this year. 

(In the comments below, please let me know of a teacher, who for better or worse, impacted your life. )


  1. It was my first and second grade teacher, Miss Natzke (aka Aunt Norma!). She made everyone feel like her favorite! Here's a link to her story on my blog:
    The Corner On Character

  2. My 20th high school reunion is this year as well! One of my worst high school memories is of my sophmore year biology teacher. She was super creepy - excessively thin with very long fake nails.

    I had mono that year and missed 2 weeks of class - it just happened to be when we were dissecting frogs. In order to make up the work I had to come in before school each day. All the lights were still off and only the janitors were in the building and I had to dissect that frog all by myself. I was so creeped out I kept imagining the frog was moving lol. I learned next to nothing too because I only had a worksheet as guidance.

    I had recurring nightmares all that week about being chased by my biology teacher down dark hallways, I'm not sure if she was holding a dead frog or not. Needless to say, I did not sign up for any extra science class in high school, just took the bare minimum to graduate!

    Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten

  3. I became a teacher because of my kindergarten teacher! I am 47 years-old, but I still remember many moments from that year.

    At the end of one grading period, she asked us to approach her desk as she called our names, to receive our report cards. We were all packed up and ready for the buses. Although I was a typical rule-following first born child, I had deviated that day and taken my dress-up shoes out of my backpack (It was show-and-tell day!), placing them on my feet. When she called my name, I proudly tripped up the aisle to her desk. Very quietly, she leaned towards me and whispered, "I like your shoes! ". Her kindness and shared delight made such an impact on me. :-)

    Have a wonderful first day! I'll be greeting my students at 7:50am!