This past school year I was pleased when a student I had in third grade came back to personally invite me to his wedding. He said I was the only teacher that had believed in him. It made me feel so wonderful that he would remember me and think enough of me to share the most important day of his life. I canâ€™t tell you how great that made me feel. It made not only my day but the rest of my school year.
Then the day of the wedding arrived. I sat on the aisle seat so I could at least see the groom. When he came down the aisle with his new bride, we exchanged smiles and it made me feel special. I went through the receiving line and got big hugs from his sister, then from him and next his father and his mother. His mother was crying, donâ€™t all mothers cry at weddings?! I told her how pleased I was to share this special day and she said, â€œYouâ€™ve done so much for our son.â€ I answered by saying that I was glad if I had, even though I wasnâ€™t sure what. His mother then said that sheâ€™d like to tell me what sometime and I responded that I’d like that and sat back down. Soon after the head table was seated I felt a tug on my arm and it was the groomâ€™s father. He said, “Youâ€™re wanted down front.” I couldnâ€™t imagine why. As we approached his table he told me the groom wanted me to sit with his parents. I couldnâ€™t believe that on â€œhisâ€ special day he would even be thinking about me, let alone want me to sit with his parents. Then the groom got up and came down to my table and presented me with roses. I was in such disbelief! I think I said something like, â€œThis is your day, what are you doing?â€ He just grinned and went back to sit with his bride.
Then his parents said they wanted me to know â€œwhatâ€ I had done for their son. They said that after he was in my class he had a really bad year where a teacher constantly put him down. He began writing that he was stupid, he was dumb and that he hated himself. Then one day he went out into their barn with the intention of hanging himself. He thought of me and my faith in him and couldnâ€™t do it. His parents then thanked me for their son.
Needless to say I was overwhelmed with emotions. After I left the wedding reception, I cried all the way home. I have always promised myself that I would retire when I no longer enjoyed getting out of bed and heading for school. On that trip home I made a silent promise to this young man that as soon as I couldnâ€™t support my students I would quit.
That didnâ€™t seem enough somehow and a friend suggested I write this down and share it somewhere in order to affect a lot of teachers. Letting teachers know that they DO make a difference was a way for both the groom and me to really use this to help make a difference in someone elseâ€™s life. I have a sign I put up in my classroom each year that says, â€œ Be careful, feelings are everywhereâ€. I hope this helps let you know that, whoever you are, whatever you do, you DO make a difference in the lives you touch. Have a good year!
– Mrs. Elliott