This past Saturday, Heather and I were on the patio drinking coffee, and I get a text from my mom asking me to read something on Facebook. For some reason, I could not open the link (technical difficulties), so I call mom and tell her. Well, one thing led to another, and she ends up reading me the below post. For those who know my mom, she is not one who always shares her feelings. But, she was excited about this. Mom stated it was one of the best things she has read of late and thought about us since we are teachers and the value of influence we have. 

As she was reading it to me, I looked it up online and actually found the post. What was interesting, it was posted on my 7th grade English teacher’s page. The story, as far as I can tell, has an unknown source. By nature, I try to be conscientious about my blogs and wanting them to be “original thoughts,” but I believe this post is worth reading…


The Teacher and the Stolen Watch

“Do you remember me?” 

And the old man says no.  Then the young man tells him he was his student. And the teacher asks:
“What do you do, what do you do in life?”

The young man answers:
“Well, I became a teacher.”
“Ah, how good, like me?” Asks the old man.
“Well, yes.  In fact, I became a teacher because you inspired me to be like you.”

The old man, curious, asks the young man at what time he decided to become a teacher.  And the young man tells him the following story:
“One day, a friend of mine, also a student, came in with a nice new watch, and I decided I wanted it and I stole it, I took it out of his pocket.

Shortly after, my friend noticed his missing watch and immediately complained to our teacher, who was you. Then you went to the class:
“This student's watch was stolen during classes today.  Whoever stole it, please return it.”

I didn't give it back because I didn't want to.  Then you closed the door and told us all to get up and you were going to search our pockets one by one until the watch was found.  But you told us to close our eyes, because you would only look for his watch if we all had our eyes closed.

So we did, and you went from pocket to pocket, and when you went through my pocket, you found the watch and took it.  You kept searching everyone's pockets, and when you were done you said:
“Open your eyes. We have the watch.”

You didn't tell me and you never mentioned the episode. You never said who stole the watch either.  That day you saved my dignity forever.  It was the most shameful day of my life.

But this is also the day my dignity was saved and I decided not to become a thief, a bad person, etc. You never said anything, nor even scold me or took me aside to give me a moral lesson, I received your message clearly.

And thanks to you, I understood what a real educator needs to do.  Do you remember this episode, professor?

And the professor answers:
“I remember the situation, the stolen watch, which I was looking for in everyone’s pocket, but I didn't remember you, because I also closed my eyes while looking.”

This is the essence of teaching:
“If to correct you must humiliate; you don't know how to teach "

Credit - Unknown

As I read this again, I agree; it is pretty good. As educators, we really never know the power of our influence. Just like in the story, there will be plenty of students we cannot remember – if you teach long enough, it will happen. However, little things matter. One little thing here or there. The things we do or say that inspire. How we communicate and make others feel. Showing students that there is a better way. You never know, we might just save their dignity. You might not remember them, but they will remember you. Yes, to teach is to educate. But I will add this to the last line of the story – To influence and inspire… An essence of teaching that can only be measured with time

Who will you influence and inspire today? 

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

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