Carrie Gaffney is the managing editor of The Educational Forum. She spent 12 years as a secondary English teacher and is still active in The National Writing Project and Second Story, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit devoted to bringing creativity to underserved schools.
How do we appropriately honor those figures who come into our lives for brief periods of time only to have a long-lasting impact on us?
Last month, I received a completely unexpected and delightful gift when a couple of my former students “tagged” me in their Mother’s Day social media posts as a woman of influence in their lives. I spent eleven of my twelve years as a middle school English teacher, and I can tell you, there were many days I went home from school questioning my influence on my students. Middle school is a tough age, and I spent a lot of my time worrying about the futures of my students. It was such a treat to see some of my former middle schoolers, now adults, recognizing my efforts so many years after the fact.
As students, we don’t always appreciate our teachers at the time.
And as teachers, we don’t always get to see our impact up close.
Today, on Father’s Day, I invite you think about those men in your life who made a long-term impact on you, even if you didn’t know it at the time. Then thank them. I can tell you from personal experience, they will appreciate it.