A pinch ofsalt
. . . A sprinkle of pepper
, , , and a dash of sugar
Teach and Touch Someone’s Life Forever
“To teach is to touch a life forever.” – a maxim that gives worth and meaning to a calling, a profession or a vocation. It’san adage which truthfully, not metaphorically, defines the task. It was a realization I had to grapple with when the teaching career is done and over with and I am already in retirement.
I was barely twenty (20) when I started my teaching career. Having graduated from a Catholic, all-girls college founded and run by American nuns, I was trained and shown the ropes to become a bona fide educator. I taught with passion to the very young children and to the preadolescence. I was knowledgeable and I also believed that I had control of the class and handled mischievous kids expertly. However, I was not fully aware that I was touching lives.
There were gossamer occasions (in the late ‘60s) though, when parents would tell me that their child always remarked, “Teacher said so, too” or “I know because teacher told us already.” whenever the child is caught with a misdemeanor. Parents would many times use, ‘I’ll tell teacher.” to elicit prompt response or better behavior from their child. Parents also recounted that their child would mimic teacher’s movements and ways. As I recalled those numerous times then I remember that this child has become a teacher and has put up a preschool (not just one, but a few of them).
It was in Chicago in 2003 in one of my after-retirement opportunities or adventures that this saying really dawned on me. I was a Child Care Director of a multi-faceted south-east Asian Center, but in many times I would be in the classroom teaching as Substitute when a teacher would call in sick or on days when a group is under-staffed. We had this Vietnamese-American 4-year old boy, naughty in many ways. His parents were separated and he would be in some days with the mother and on other days with the father. (Every night when I would be closing I would give the parent a recount of the son’s day. Over that I would meet all parents once every 1st Thursday of the month in a Parenting Workshop where I, as director, would give them parenting tips on how they could flow to the mainstream of the American culture. I had with me a translator who speaks Vietnamese, Chinese and English for a number of non-English speakers.) Well, the Vietnamese mother seemed aloof and really indifferent, but was always present. At the end of the term, when the son would be moving to the “big” school for Pre-K, she came and she gave me a package and as I opened, she said, “My husband chose that, We’re thankful that you are my son’s teacher. He’s at work but we are now together since 4 months ago.” In the package was a frame with the words, To teach is to touch a life forever.
To date, some of my former students from Maryknoll Lipa, Maryknoll Lucena and Assumption and even from Chicago are my virtual friends in the different social media. They have expressed in more ways than one that somehow I have touched their lives. I was touched and moved.
These experiences were my teaching as well as touching moment as they continue to touch my being, making me more considerate and caring. In the end, I emerged a better person because they, the students, have touched my life forever. I know in my heart and from their testimonials, that I, too, have touched a life somehow… sometime.
Let’s touch each other’s life. Join me as I reminisce the days before retirement and /or as I recreate memories of my retirement days here at FilamMegascene. God bless!
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