Teachers do make a difference in the lives of their students. Teaching is hard work, but it has its rewards. Many teaching rewards are realized when a teacher’s students go on to have successful careers. Sometimes it takes years for the students to come back and demonstrate to their teacher how much they appreciate the lessons they have learned. This was a lesson Ms. Watson, a high school choral teacher in Chicago, Illinois, recently learned from her former students.
Ms. Watson had been struggling with some medical issues. She thought she was returning to the school to interview for a teaching position. She walked down the school hallway on her way to the interview, when Peter, a former student, stepped out of his hiding place and started singing Amazing Grace.
Ms. Watson’s reaction is one of both tears and joy. Two more of her former students stepped out into the hallway and joined in singing Amazing Grace. Overcome with emotion, she sat down on the ground with her back to a locker and cried. The next moment she laughed. More students joined the trio. Ms. Watson stood up to listen to the choral singing she taught them to do many years before.
Later, after regaining her composure, she remarked that she never thought she would see all her former students singing a song she taught them. She related how loved and appreciated she felt. Her students demonstrated to her the difference she made in their lives with music. She loved her students and wanted them all to be successful later on in life after finishing high school.
Peter graduated high school in 2005. Ms. Watson was his former choral teacher for all four years of his high school career. He considered her one of the best vocal teachers he ever had. After graduation, he pursued a professional career in entertainment in Los Angeles, California. He attributed his success to the choral lessons he learned from Ms. Watson.
When he last saw Ms. Watson, Peter realized he never had a chance to tell her the influence she had on his life and future career goals. He told Ms. Watson that he accomplished his career goals because of her excellent teaching. He thanked her for being his first choral teacher.
A company using a registered trademark of Kimberly Clark Worldwide, Inc., Kleenex, brought together many of Ms. Watson’s favorite choral students to sing their praises to her. Some of her students hadn’t seen each other in ten years, but were glad to have a chance to tell Ms. Watson how much they appreciated what she had taught them. Ms. Watson and all her former students sang together while reaching for a tissue.