You’re the Best Teacher I Ever Had
I recently was moved to tears by the story of a teacher who changed the life of one little boy. And he never forgot.
He was the student she ignored at first. He spent most of each day slouched at his desk, disinterested and often dozing, shunned by his classmates. Because he was so easy to overlook, over a month passed before she got around to reading his cumulative records. What she discovered amazed her.
At the end of each of his early grades, teachers wrote glowingly of his excellent scholarship, enthusiasm for classroom activities and leadership amongst his peers. But as the years passed, teachers increasingly spoke of his poor scholarship, disinterest in classroom activities, low energy and poor hygiene. Clearly, something had dramatically changed in his home life. With a few discreet inquiries, she soon uncovered the sorry circumstances.
This teacher tried her best to engage him. Then the week before the Christmas holiday, her students were arriving with lavishly wrapped packages containing costly gifts. She opened each in turn and thanked them for their thoughtfulness. Then the day before the Christmas break, this one boy handed her a crumpled paper bag containing his present.
Inside this bag she found a broken necklace and a half empty bottle of perfume. Her other students began to snicker, but she made a point of dabbing a few drops of that perfume on her wrist and commenting on its lovely fragrance. She slipped the necklace over her head and mentioned how well it matched her sweater.
From that day on, she took a special interest in this boy and continued showing him little acts of kindness.
Years passed, but he never forgot her. Without fail, he sent her a Christmas card each year with the same inscription, “You are the best teacher I ever had.” He made the honor roll in junior high, graduated from high school first in his class and summa cum laude from Yale University. He is now a successful physician, but never ceases to send an annual Christmas card to “The Best Teacher I Ever Had!”