High School teachers left lasting gifts for the lives of our students

High School teachers left lasting gifts for the lives of our students

High School teachers left lasting gifts for the lives of our students

Naval Secondary School – New York, NY

Now, as we near graduation ceremonies for our high school students, the time has come for so many of us to reflect on the “book” we placed in our students’ lap during those long and earnest years of high school.

The challenges and roadblocks that our kids faced during their first few years in high school are tough enough, especially now that those years have come to an end. Even so, no matter how hard high school got, our students’ persistence paid off, and it gave them a better gift than almost anything else out there: a whole lifetime of motivation.

A “death benefit”

One of the most powerful lessons I learned during my own years as a high school student was the impact my teacher had on me. Throughout my junior and senior years of high school, I was able to travel in the back of his classroom during recess. On the days I wasn’t there, it became a small focal point in my life for providing a burst of inspiration and confidence.

Since high school isn’t as easy as college, I often wondered how it was that I never had such a teacher. I was on a golfing vacation, and he called me to tell me how he happened to see me riding his tandem bicycle across the golf course. I was also on the beach in Key West, Florida, at the time, and I made a U-turn to avoid a man in a motorcycle parked along the road.

“What a waste, man,” he told me. “Those are worthless footprints. I wish there was someone around who could make me remember who I was and who I was trying to be. Where are the people who can help you?”

That life-changing thought was the driving force behind my decision to attend Columbia College in Chicago, Ill. Much to my chagrin, no one in my hometown of Quincy, Ill., had ever heard of Columbia College. I must have had this teacher once in high school, but that was more than a quarter of a century ago.

The teaching experience that helped me help my students is something that is still truly a factor in how I live my life today. It’s a set of lessons that served me well throughout life, and I hope to leave those for future generations to accomplish the same thing.

What is your teacher’s legacy?

Image credit: MindShift

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