I Was A Father To My Student
I last saw Micheal some years back after I stopped teaching in one of the schools. We met up again to catch up on how he was doing. Micheal was doing pretty well and I was pleased to find out that he was going to be furthering his studies to Switzerland despite not having the means to do so.
I was happy that everything was going well for him. This was because leaving to study at an overseas university was always a dream of his. We chatted like friends and when it got a bit late, I sent him home. I knew that I won’t be seeing him for a bit, so I wished him all the best and mentioned that I hope to see him again.
It was at this time that he thanked me for the time, money and effort that I have invested in him. He thanked me for being there for him. Best of all, he thanked me for being like a father to him and helping him become a man.
The Depth Of Your Impact
For many teachers, we usually get thank you notes for helping pour students pass exams and achieving success. However, Micheal’s words meant the world to me. You see, Micheal grew up without a father. Thus, having him say something like this meant a lot to me.
I suppose it surprised me how much I meant to him. There were days when I felt that I was merely his teacher and did my job to the best of my ability. There were days when I felt that I was just not good enough, in fact, there were times when I felt that I was inadequate in helping my students, including Micheal achieve his fullest potential.
Ironically, there were even days when Micheal helped me a lot with my work. This made me wonder if it was he who has helped me instead. What my journey with Micheal has taught me however, is that you can never be too sure about how much of an impact you are to someone until they tell you. As such, I have learnt to not think about my mistakes. In fact, I have learnt to do my best to be the best positive impact possible to my students.
The Return Of Investment
To be honest, when Micheal told me of how much I meant to him, it was the best compliment that I as a teacher can get. At my last count, I have taught approximately 800 students throughout my career.
Throughout this time, I have invested effort, time and money in many of my students’ lives. Some of them went on to be successful, some did not. Some have decided to model bits and pieces of my personality, resulting in this world being filled with individuals with a rather interesting sense of humor, and some have decided that I wasn’t worth following.
I see my return of investment in how many of them have actually thanked me for being a positive impact in their lives. All my students respect me because that is our culture. However, some thank me because of what I have done for them. It is in these thanks, that I see the return of my investment.
However, Micheal’s thanks was profound and to be considered a father to some is definitely an honor. That statement meant so much that I had tried my best to hold back the tears. I mean, it would be rather uncool to cry in front of my student.
Teaching, like many other jobs has its ups and downs. However, it is in situations like this that makes all the countless paperwork and troublesome students seem like nothing. It is in situations when someone thanks me for being a father figure to them, that makes me feel blessed to be a teacher.