"I'm not sure if you would remember me, but this is a former student. I was talking with a friend of mine, who happens to be a teacher, and we were having a conversation about our favorite teacher and without hesitation, I named you as mine. After telling her about you, she really encouraged me to see if I could find you and say hello.
I wanted to say thank you and to tell you what a wonderful teacher I thought you were. You were so encouraging and supportive which really meant so much to me as middle school wasn't the easiest time for me."
This arrived in my inbox at 6:29pm last night.
16 years ago I taught fifth grade. Fresh out of college, transplanted to a new part of the country, excited and overwhelmed at the task of having responsibility for 25 10-year olds, I embarked on the most creative endeavor (save parenting) I will ever pursue.
As a seasoned professional and a mother of 3 now, living far away from my former school, I look back on those days with nostalgia and a whole lot of, "what was I doing/thinking?" I recall the graciousness of the community, the clarity in those young eyes, and the many ways I felt like I just did not do enough for my 51 students over those two years.
Somewhere around dinner last night I changed my mind.
As much as I think I remember everything exactly as it was, I see experiences only through my lens. And, fact is,
You just never know.
You never fully know the impact you have on another.
But in rare, beautiful moments, you may just have the opportunity to realize that you've been somehow instrumental.
Tuesday evening at 6:29pm, I became grateful for one dear student who took the time to find me on the worldwide web and let me know.
Maybe this evening you and I might reach out to someone who's been an important chapter in our story.
Go for it*.