Saturday, 4 June 2011

"A teacher affects eternity; no one can tell where his influence stops."

"A teacher affects eternity; no one can tell where his influence stops." 
Henry Adams - "The Education of Henry Adams"
US author, autobiographer, & historian (1838 - 1918)

When talking to teachers of the Year 1/2 (6, 7, 8 year old) children at my last school, I was told they had a meeting each year to discuss which teacher would best suit the children when they moved on to Year 3/4 (8,9,10 yo). Those who were independent and needed little support were sent to one teacher, the more average children were distributed to three other teachers and those who needed nurturing would be sent to the fifth teacher. I was told I was the fifth teacher they felt could bring out the best in children needing more support, both academic and emotional. I was the TLC* teacher.

I've had many experiences with positive responses from teachers, parents and former students. Examples are...
+ Parents telling me their child only liked school after being in my class
+ Former students telling me I was the best teacher they had
+ Others saying I influenced their career choice to become teachers or work in IT
+ One former student explained he often wondered how he might have ended had I not been there when he needed me

Looking back over the years, I remember many teachers who were willing to put in the extra work to support their students and know so many could point out the positive influence they've had.

"A teacher affects eternity; no one can tell where his influence stops."

I have been thinking about this quote and how true it can be. A child succeeds because of the support of a caring teacher. They grow to become teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, child carers, sales assistants, etc and pass on the positive influences and support they have learned. In turn those they influence pass on to more and so on into the future so truly... "no one can tell where his (or her) influence stops."

Consider the maths... one positive teacher influences the lives of say 10 children who grow to each positively influence the lives of 10 more children and so on....

1 teacher --> 10 students ---> 100 ---> 1000 ---> 10000 etc

The numbers can be mind blowing in only a small number of generations.

Is teaching worth it? If you have a love of children and a desire to pass on your enthusiasm to learn and teach, you may create for yourself an "eternity" of positive influence not possible for our physical existence.

*TLC - Tender Loving Care

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