Too often we fail to share gratitude for others at the time they directly impact our lives. Parents can certainly relate to this. When was the last time your child thanked you for driving them to the dentist or for buying and making dinner each night? Children and adults, alike, simply expect certain actions from others because the actions fall within that person’s job description or role. This habit of inadvertently taking others for granted is not a malicious one, but rather an unfortunate reality we all face as we rush through life.
My uncle served as a chemistry teacher for 33 years, dedicating his entire life to inspiring young people to tackle challenges with confidence and curiosity. At his funeral, one of his former students (who eventually became a colleague) shared a personal reflection on the impact his former teacher had on his life. During his beautiful words, I was solemnly reminded how much I take for granted the impact others have on my life, including my own former teachers.
In many occupations, you receive immediate feedback on the efficacy of your work. A sales person receives positive reinforcement after setting record numbers for the quarter. An architect watches her design become a reality. An entrepreneur sees his product sold in stores for the first time. Most occupations have feedback mechanisms built in that provide immediate gratification and inspire future efforts. Teaching, however, is a labor of love that specializes in delayed gratification.
Teachers are fueled by the long-term growth in each of their students; a potential not everyone is able to see and is not fully realized in the short-term ‘wins’ of higher test scores. They have this unique patience that understands the seeds of wisdom and guidance they sow in their students today may not blossom for over a decade. Any rationale investor would be unsatisfied with this type of return, but not teachers. Teachers have confidence the relationships they develop with their students and the lessons in perseverance, critical thinking, and collaboration they teach will serve as cornerstones for future success.
During alumni reunion each June we have the opportunity to finally enjoy the bounty of the harvest sown years prior. Delayed gratification comes to fruition as alums eagerly return to campus to reconnect with their former advisors, coaches, dorm parents and classroom teachers. As a teacher, there is no greater feeling than seeing former students as adults and hearing a heart felt, ‘Thank you’. Our hope for everyone within the Proctor community is to say those precious words to the teachers in your life (whoever they may be) while they are able to hear them and enjoy them. Click the link below to access our Faculty and Staff Directory to email the faculty or staff members who made (and are still making) an impact on your life!