Last evening, I received an email from a student who is in a course I am teaching. The student explained that he was telling his mother about his new classes and professors. When he got to my class and mentioned my name, his mother interrupted and said, “I think your uncle had him as a teacher when he was in college there thirty-two years ago.” As I read those words I was hit with several thoughts: Yes, I remember his uncle. That is so wonderful. Darn, I am really old. And then, as I felt a pang of tension in my stomach, I wondered if the uncle’s memories were good or bad. Fortunately, my new student went on to allay my fears which allowed me to continue to joyfully reflect on all those students from way back then. Experiences like this make me remember the awesome responsibility, extraordinary impact, and timeless influence we have as teachers. It’s at those moments that I remember the spectacular words of Karen Jensen: “You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed. When you teach, you never know how many lives you will influence…you are teaching for eternity.”
Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
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