“A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops”– Henry Adams I realized today how true this statement was….
Today being the last working day for my class 10 students, lots of things were on the cards. First was a temple visit to get the blessings of the almighty and then of course a class photograph, to be cherished for years to come and there was also the farewell party for class 12.
I got ready for school expecting only these events and of course a small reminder to myself that I need to tell my students to collect their practical records from the lab as a reference for their board exams. Today being Friday, I had the first period with them and that gave me some surety that I might be able to do as I planned before they got caught up with their events for the day. Once in the class, after handing over their books, I sat down for a casual chat with them, knowing well that I might be meeting some of them for the last time as they may have plans of moving to another school.
What I didn’t expect was the torrent of emotions this was going to unleash. What started as a casual reminiscence, going down the memory lane (some as long as 6 years back as I had being teaching some of them since they were in 4thgrade) slowly turned into an emotional roller-coaster. Soon there was no stopping those tears from streaming down their cheeks. Everyone shared some incident or the other….saying they loved me because I was fair to all and never partial, some said they liked how I always came well-prepared for every class, while some liked the fact that no matter how silly or out of context their doubts were, I never brushed them aside etc..etc…
The most heart-warming one was shared by my newest student who had been with me for just a year. She started out by telling me how I was the reason she started liking Biology, as up- until then she had hated that subject. (Did I mention that I am a Biology teacher? Well, now you know). I couldn’t believe it completely though, as kids say the darndest things sometimes in an emotional state. As if sensing it, she insisted that I listen to the whole story and went on to share that due to her earlier hatred for the subject, she had clearly told her family that she would never take up medicine as a profession. Her parents were really disappointed as they had high hopes of seeing their daughter become a doctor.
Then, one day, after one of my classes where I was explaining the circulatory system and how the human heart works (yes, she even remembered the exact topic) she had gone home and told her mom that she wanted to do medicine. Her mother was obviously stunned but of course very happy to hear that and the reason behind her decision.
Just like that, an important, monumental decision was made.
So when I hear such instances, it makes me wonder how many lives we touch in this profession, without even realizing it.