I am a high school mathematics teacher. I just finished my thirty-third year of teaching. It is a tough profession just like many other professions, but I continue to enjoy making a positive difference in the lives of my students. This may not happen with all the students I have in class, but it is very rewarding to me when I receive acknowledgement from a student or parent at the end of a course, and a student or parent was very pleased with how everything went with a particular course and what a positive difference I made in the life of that student or that parent’s child.
When you teach students at any level, you will sometimes know that you have had a positive impact on the students you have in class. There are many times where you will never know what type of impact that you have had on several different students. My focus now is to share two examples of how I know that my teaching had a positive impact on two of my students.
First, there was Mike (not his real name). Mike came to me after school one day to talk to me. I thought that he wanted to work on making up several quizzes and tests and get some extra help with several concepts that I taught in class. Instead, Mike indicated to me that my teaching, my style of teaching, and several things that I said in class changed his life. Mike told me that he decided that he would stay away from drugs and alcohol, even when he went to parties where this was being done. Later in the day I was sent an e-mail message from Mike’s father indicating that he and his wife had been trying everything for two years to get Mike back on track, but something happened in my classroom where this happened. This does not happen with all my students, but it did with Mike.
Second, there was Sue (not her real name). Sue gave me a “thank you” card that read, “Thank you for all you do. I would like to recognize you for being a light in darkness. Your faith strengthened mine when it felt impossible. Romans 8:18.” I went right to my Bible to read the Scripture passage that Sue sighted in her “thank you” card. Romans 8:18 reads, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” After reading this in the Bible, I was taken back by the fact that I made such a positive difference in this person’s life. This “thank you” note was not just a thank you to me from one of my students, but it was encouragement for me to continue to do what I am doing in terms of my career. There are other students who will be impacted by my teaching in a positive way, but I will never hear from those students. This is okay. I know that there are some students who will not tell me, but I know that I will have made a positive difference in their lives.
No matter which job you are working right now or which career you have chosen, know and understand that when you do your best with trying to make a positive difference in other people’s lives, then different people will be affected in a positive way because of how you presented yourself to them, how you took the time to help them, and how you showed an interest in them. You may not always know what type of impact you have had on others, but there will be times when different people will let you know what a positive difference you made in their lives. This does make you feel good about what you are doing, and it even helps with striving to do the best that you can with helping others you come in contact with within your profession or somewhere else in life.