I’m reading a book I got from Stephanie’s parents for Christmas currently and one of the themes seems to be that we should (or at least are able to) measure success by the impact we have on other people’s lives. An interesting proposal considering there is no qualitative way of measuring such a thing, but it certainly got me thinking about the impact I was having on people, the impact I am having on people.
I’ve discovered I seldom get upset in the classroom. The first time I really got upset was yesterday. It wasn’t a big deal and I overreacted simply because the students were goofing off, not really all that much more than they usually do, but I got upset. I made a mistake. It was the day before the exam and I wanted to get the review done so that they would feel prepared and they weren’t taking it seriously as far as I could observe.
I apologized after our hourly tea break, telling them the truth: I cared about them and I wanted them to succeed. I did not want them to feel bad about themselves and I did not want them to fail.
Today, exam day, the last day I’ll have this particular group of students, they gave me a gift. It was a very nice scarf that a few of them had chipped in for. They told me I was a great teacher and they would miss me. I very nearly started crying and if I didn’t need to start the exam within minutes, I probably would have.
I don’t know why they felt compelled to give me a gift. I hope it wasn’t out of guilt for me being upset with them the previous day and I don’t think it was. I think that they are simply a group of extremely kind-hearted individuals who have greatly impacted my life with their hard work, their smiles, their questions and their love.
I can only hope I’ve impacted them with the same things.