Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fortunate faux pas

The mother of one of our teachers passed away yesterday afternoon. I was sending out information to some friends when I saw on the "sent" list that I had inadvertently sent it to someone who has no connection to the teacher whatsoever. In fact, I sent it to a student who was a sophomore my first year teaching and who I am occasionally in touch with. Somehow his address jumped into the "to" line and he got the message, too.

I immediately wrote to him and explained what had happened (not that I really know). This afternoon I heard back from him in a very long message detailing how something I had written on a speech evaluation sheet made such a difference in his life, and how he often thinks about it and feel empowered in the same way he did all those years ago. I guess I had critiqued the speech, but wrote at the end "I am proud of you." All these years later he says that gave him the inspiration to go on and become a writer and speaker. He said that my mistake was a fortunate one, that my apology came at just the right time for him.

After he graduated, he went to college as a journalism major and was hired at the 8th largest newspaper in the country! He still writes, although he's not with that paper any more. So nice to know the little things you do, without thinking about the consequences, can--and do--make a difference, even years later! Makes the tough days go a little easier because you know that things often turn out better in the long run.

The picture is of my former office at that school. I got it off the website, so I don't know who the girls are, but the office is very familiar to me. I've not seen it for 23 years! Wow! Just looking at it takes me back!!!


Sunny said...

It is almost scary the influence a teacher has.

Rondi said...

Beyond that!

Patty said...

they say there are no real accidents in life !

Rondi said...

It's interesting how things work out, isn't it? BTW, turns out the person on the left is the English teacher. She looks as young as the student. That was my lot when I first started!