Tabaldo on Tech

Teaching with Technology in the 21st Century

image Flicker (Kevin Jarrett)
image Flicker (Brad Flickinger)

Words Every Teacher Wants to Hear

“You inspired me!”

Those are the words every teacher wants to hear. Even if you don’t want to admit it, deep down you know it’s true. Those of us who are currently or who have been teachers, get up early every day and try to figure out ways to inspire our students. Some days are harder than others. We stay up late at night searching the Internet for new lesson plans, new ideas that just might get a concept through to that one student that just can’t grasp it. Teaching is a labor of love that for the most part can be thankless….until it happens.

It happened to me last night. I was sitting at a local high school watching a play, when during intermission a former student, now a Senior, approached me. I asked how school was going and she told me she had decided on a college. I was ecstatic! (I love that fact that most of my former students go on to college.) She named a prestigious film college and told me that her career path in film was because of a project I assigned when she was in the 8th grade. After the 3 minute music video project was over and she had to return my FlipVideo camera, she convinced her mom to buy her a digital video camera and she has been making films ever since. She said that she credits me for helping her find what really inspires her and makes her happy. {whoooosh – that’s my breath being swept away!}

I was stunned! It had just happened. I had inspired a student. Well, I guess it had really happened 5 years earlier and I was just now finding out about it, but I did it! I was on cloud nine. All I could think about is that saying that ends with, “{frivolous things don’t matter} …because I was important in the life of a child” and I really felt like that at that moment. I had made a difference.

This experience means so much to me, more than that student will ever know, but I do know what it’s like to have a teacher that impacts your life so much because I too had that experience. I was in 6th grade and Miss Josephine (imagine petite Filipino with thick accent and perfect posture) was the teacher. She loved to dance and me….well not so much. We had a performance we had to do for something and it was going to be a choreographed dance to Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” (great Catholic school song!) Well I refused and was sent to the principals office. After a long and difficult negotiation we agreed that I could work the cassette player for the performance. THAT was the moment that made the techie I am today. From that one decision that I would NOT dance, I was allowed to do something that I would not have ever been allowed to do. I soon ran all the AV equipment for the entire school and that continued until I graduated 8th grade.

Fast forward 24 years and I’m invited to a wedding of a classmate in my graduate cohort. My heart almost stops as I watch my slightly older but the same perfect postured 6th grade teacher walk down the aisle as a godparent of my friend, the groom! When the wedding was over and we were finding our seats for the reception, I watched as Miss Josephine walked perfectly postured to my table and sat down. I almost died. She recognized me but could not quite place me…I enlightened her, and we laughed. What were the chances that we would not only be at the same wedding but that he would seat us at the same table. I was able to finally tell her that she was the reason I was a techie and proud of it. I was a teacher and I was very proud of that!

I wonder if she felt the way I do about my experience last night?  Humbled. Excited. Proud.

I inspired a student!

Look who I ran into?

Miss Josephine & me

Category: Thoughts

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