Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
— Charles R. Swindoll
A parcel arrived in the mail the other day.
Inside was little grey teddy bear, a ‘get well’ card and a letter.
The parcel was from one of my students. She is currently in Year 2. I have worked closely with her for the last two years as part of the EAL/D (English as an Additional Language or Dialect) program and she has been wondering where I have been this term.
The bear is a ‘powerful and magical teddy bear’. If I feel sick, a cuddle will give me power and a speedy recovery.
Inside the Get Well card she wrote, ‘I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you.’
Both the bear and the card tugged at my heart strings — but the letter filled my heart.
First, she explained that, as she hadn’t seen me for quite some time, she had asked her teacher from last year where I was.
Then, she wrote about some of the things that had been happening at school this term. She had dressed up in traditional Malaysian dress for Harmony Day and was selected to represent her class at a prize ceremony after they won a poster competition. Apparently, she also got nine words wrong in a reading test, but she promised me she would ‘read carefully’ next time.
At the end of the letter she wrote:
I really, really miss you, hope you can get well soon. I will send more letters again. Hope you enjoy reading it.
Yes, I did enjoy reading it — multiple times.
Teachers and children come and go in your life. Most children in Primary School love their class teacher for the year. Then they move on and love their next teacher, and so on. As a teacher you build bonds with your students, but in most cases they are finite.
Very occasionally, these bonds last so much longer than the school year. It is these cases many teachers cherish. As a rule, we are not in the job to ‘be friends’ with the children we teach, but developing that special, long-lasting bond is like finding a rare and coveted jewel. It may only happen a couple of times in your career.
For me, this parcel represented not only the compassion and beautiful natures of my student and her mother, but it also told me I had somehow left a deposit in her memory bank. By being there for her, I had managed to make an impact — and the impact was mutual.
As a primary school student, and throughout high school, I wrote letters to my Year 4 teacher. I loved writing these letters, and I loved that she would respond to them. I would tell her what I was doing and she would comment, tell me she was proud and also write about events in her life.
I still have those letters.
And, I am honoured that I now have the opportunity — even if it only happens once — to follow in the footsteps of my teacher.