I was just putting the nozzle into my gas tank when I saw a man peer at me from behind a neighboring pump. “Mrs. Sabo? I’m Angela’s dad. You were her teacher a long time ago.”
His beautiful smile resembled one I’d seen on a first grader years before, so I replied, “Angela Bini? She must be in, what….tenth grade now?”
“Yes,” he answered. We proceeded to chat and I got all caught up on Angela’s life. He was justifiably proud of how well she was doing and thanked me for the role I’d played in getting her off to a good start.
I was still smiling as I crossed the parking lot to purchase my daily caffeine infusion. The woman in front of me seemed familiar, and when she turned around I said, “Teacher Lucille!” Lucille Kodama taught my two-year old daughter in a weekly preschool class. Now, 22 years later, she wanted to know all about Stacie and was shocked to hear she was old enough to be married and have a new baby of her own. My heart felt so full of love and gratitude toward this gracious, kind teacher who’d loved my daughter unconditionally so many years ago. We parted with a hug, and I walked back to my car thinking how amazing it was that within a period of 15 minutes, I’d experienced both sides of a coin; Appreciated Teacher/Appreciate a Teacher.
I think it was Maya Angelou who said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Education is taking a beating lately, but I want us to take heart. We are the hardest working people I know, pouring ourselves into the lives of children every single day. What we do matters….often far beyond this day, this week, even this year.