Last fall, my homeroom class raised $1200 for one of their classmates, a boy who has never completed an assignment for me and who has never been in my room for one of my dog-and-pony show lessons. This boy has been in my classroom for only one brief visit; just once before his doctors scooped a tumor from his arm and removed any chance of his ever throwing a fastball or playing quarterback; just one twenty-minute visit before thirty rounds of poison would surge through his body and turn him into a wisp of what he was.
But today, this boy I hardly know sent me flowers, and on the card, he wrote: I wish I had a chance to know you this entire school year. From the moment we met, I knew you are a wonderful and fun teacher. This is my way of saying how much I appreciate you and everyone who has supported me. You are part of my journey.
Throughout the day, I carried those roses to a dozen rooms, read his card a dozen times, and wept into a dozen tissues. For this boy who has been standing in a downpour holding all of his dreams in a broken web reminded me that the world is bursting with unselfishness, kindness, and hope.
I am not a teacher because I have something to offer my students. I am a teacher, in title only, because I have so much to learn from them.