Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dear Teacher,

This past Friday I had a singular honor. I was privileged to be present when a former student of mine from the St. Pius V Catholic School Class of 2000 received her teaching credential. 

I'm not ashamed to say that there was a tear (maybe two) in my eyes as I sat in the gymnasium at California State University, Fullerton during the ceremony. Surrounded by her fellow credential candidates and their family members, my former student-- now all grown up-- delivered an address on behalf of the entire student body present.

In many places her speech read like a heartfelt thank you letter. She expressed a humble recognition of the support of her own teachers, family, and friends, while at the same time bubbling over with enthusiasm for the career upon which she is about to embark. 

Dear Teacher,
Here are a few excerpts from her speech:
     I stand here today as a result of not only my hard work and dedication . . . but also the hard work and dedication of all of my teachers, past and present, parents, and anyone who helped me . . .
     My presence here is evidence that what we do makes a difference in the lives of our students.
     We all have people in our lives who've inspired us: friends, counselors, parents . . . who have encouraged us and gotten us to where we are today-- receiving our credential, and getting ready to change the world.
     We can live in the kind of world we want, as long as we are willing to create it. And, I hope that whatever we create honors those who have guided us and supported us along the way.
     May we take what we have learned and use it to inspire the next generation of teachers. (J.L., CSUF Credential Recipient, May 24, 2013)
What this graduate doesn't realize is that her humble words inspired me. Her words were a shot in the arm . . . a reminder of why I started in this career in the first place.

Her final words were a quote from Brazilian author Paulo Coehlo: "Be blessed.  And just as you are transforming your own life, may you transform the lives of those around you."

I'd say that sums up the experience for me quite well. Thanks, J.L.

Photo credit: sakeeb via photopin cc

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