Teachers Who Care


Source:  TravisG15, “A friend of mine just started teaching high school this semester.” Imgur. 6 December 2013


On 6 December 2013, Redditor TravisG15 published on Imgur this note that a friend — a fairly recently hired high school teacher — had gotten from a student: “I wish to thank you for the way you teach. I’ve learned so much this year. Also, I want to thank you for the day you bought me lunch. Thank you for helping me through this year, you’ve been so caring and supportive since my dad died. Honestly, you remind me of him a lot; tough and hard on people to do good. December 10th, is his birthday[. W]e[’]re doing a memorial for him if you’d like to come.”

TravisG15, wrote, “Story behind this letter: one of his students was working at her family’s ranch with her father, he fell on some metal that went through his leg and he bled to death in front of her. After the funeral she was going to drop out of High School. The day she got back he brought her Whataburger for lunch, she hasn’t been absent since.”

As usual, Redditors made some good comments:

Deradius commented, “Your friend should go to that memorial. It’ll be hard, and he’s done a great deal already, but the power of his attendance at that memorial should not be underestimated.

“When I was nineteen, my father died. He was a tremendously influential figure in my life, an extremely involved parent, and I was lucky to have known him. We would have conversations until two or three in the morning about anything and everything; he was older when I was born, and knew he wouldn’t be around forever, so he did his best to pack a lifetime of discussions into the first couple of decades of my life.

“Dad was a popular guy, in his own quiet way. There were a lot of mourners at the funeral. In the confusion, I did not get to shake hands with everyone, but as our car was leaving the funeral home for the grave site, I saw my old high school physical science teacher.

“This guy had taught me three or four years prior. He was in his eighties, couldn’t hear, and walked with a cane. He never came up to talk to me at the funeral. He never shook my hand or went out of his way to see me.

“But the sight of him shook me to my very center. Here was a man who I might’ve thought had forgotten who I was altogether. He knew not a single soul at the funeral, as far as I was aware. He had never met my parents. He certainly didn’t know my Dad. He was a bachelor, so no one even came with him.

“He had somehow found out about the funeral, remembered me after all those years, gotten dressed in what was probably his only suit, and come there. Just to be there. For me, and me alone.

“And he didn’t even care whether I knew it. He was just there for me.

“In that moment, he taught me so much about what it means to really care about your students. It runs deep, it transcends time, it’s entirely selfless and has nothing to do with personal gain. It is its own reward, and that caring alone, apart from anything else you might do, has the power to quietly change lives for the better.

“Ever since that day, I’ve done everything I can to be that kind of role model and support for the people I feel responsible for.

“I went on to teach high school for two years.

“Last year, an alumnus of mine lost his Dad in a tragic accident. I hate public events. I don’t attend gatherings if I can help it. But you can bet I put on my best suit and stood at the back of the crowd for the service.”

Cikedo commented, “There are plenty of teachers like this. But with the shift in focus from ‘what aren’t the parents doing at home?’ to ‘Why the f[*]ck isn’t my kid getting straight A’s, it’s your job!’ — it’s easy to lose sight of just how many great teachers there are out there.

“In fact, I bet if you think hard enough — there’s probably a teacher in YOUR past that you under appreciated (unless you’re just a super awesome person to begin with and you already let them know!). If you ever find yourself thinking back and thinking ‘oh man, so and so was such a good teacher/person…’, you should make an effort to let them know!

“One of my all time favorite teachers (now anyways. I hated her back in the day! Everyone did, she made us write a 10 page paper.) almost retired because she felt under appreciated (or maybe that she wasn’t making a big enough difference, I don’t know exactly). I wish I could take credit for it, but someone gathered up a whole bunch of letters from students and gave them to her. That was 10 years ago, AFAIK [as far as I know] she’s still working!”

some14u commented, “My first goal has always been to take care of a student’s basic needs. When laptops first came out (yes, I’m that old) I saw an admin[istrator] hand one to a student who was falling behind on their work (because they weren’t getting enough food at home). The student looked up at me with an expression that I’ll never forget. The expression could be translated as: How the f[*]ck is this going to make me less hungry?

“My desk is always filled with food, clothing, and contacts to help solve any missing basic needs.

“Once a student [is] in a position to learn, teaching is easy. This is also the real difference between a poor school and a good school, a sleeping student and the student who always sits in the front row. Not much magic or chance involved, things play out exactly as you’d expect them to most of the time.”

For Further Information:  TravisG15, “A friend of mine just started teaching high school this semester.” Reddit. 6 December 2013


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