There’s a strip of masking tape on my desk that’s old and peeling away, but I’ve kept it because of the fading message written in permanent ink. A former student aide wrote: “Best Teacher Ever!” She penned the message one day and never told me. I just sat down and noticed it. As the phrase slowly wears away, I wish I’d taken a picture. Of course, I’m not the “Best Teacher Ever,” but I was even more surprised that the words were written by this particular student.
I have to confess that I had reservations about taking her on as an aide. She’d been in my class the year before and could be a handful—and by that I mean talkative and reticent. She didn’t always complete her schoolwork, and I signed her agenda so many times for skipping lunch detention that she had to be escorted to the cafeteria by an administrator for seven straight days. Even with doubts, I decided she could be my aide, and I’m glad I did. She completed every task, found more work to do when I had to focus on something else, and made me laugh with her sarcastic comments and eye rolling—I can’t help it; I’m really thirteen at heart. Over the year, she seemed to grow out of some of her self-consciousness and her grades slowly elevated in most of her classes. While I celebrated her 8th grade promotion, in secret, I (selfishly) pouted that I wouldn’t get to see her everyday.
As a teacher, you might not have access to company jets, expensive spas and pricy restaurants, but I doubt a lot of powerful CEOs have days where they get a sincere message written on masking tape left on their desks.
Who was your “Best Teacher Ever”?