I wanted to share this article that my mother shared with me. It is one of those tear-jerking articles that reminds me why I teach. It is one of those articles that definitely causes me to reflect and think about what is most important in the classroom!
This was an article in The County Press, Mind and Spirit Section, Lapeer Memories on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 by Doris Burke Titled: Story of kindness reminder what Easter season is really
“With Easter this Sunday and the time of year when we take a look at the meaning of the holiday itself, this story I found to be a good example of kindness.
Mrs. Thompson, a fifth grade teacher, stood in front of her class on the first day of school and told an untruth. She looked at them and told them she loved them all. However that was impossible because there in the front row slumped in his seat was a boy named Teddy Stoddard.
She had watched him the year before and noticed he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and he needed a bath. It got to a point where she would actually take delight in marking his cards with a broad ink pen, making X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.
At the school where she taught she was required to review each child’s past records. She put off Teddy’s until last. However when she reviewed his she was surprised. His first grade teacher had written, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh and has good manners. He is a joy to be around.” His second grade teacher wrote, “He is an excellent student, well liked, but had been troubled by his mother’s terminal illness.” His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tried to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps are not taken.” His fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class.”
By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her class brought Christmas presents to her all wrapped in pretty ribbons and bright paper. Except for Teddy’s. His present was wrapped in brown paper that came from a grocery bag. She opened his in the middle of other presents. Some of the children laughed when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some stones missing and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. She stifled the laughed when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was and put it on and dabbed some of the perfume behind her ears. Teddy stayed after school long enough to tell her she smelled just like his mother used to. After the children left she cried for at least an hour.
From that day on she quit teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, instead, she began to teacher children. She paid particular attention to Teddy. His mind seemed to come alive and by the end of the year he became one of the smartest in the class.
A year later she found a note under her door saying she was the best teacher he ever had. Six years went by before she got another note saying he had finished high school third in his class and she was still the best teacher he had ever had. Four years later she received another note saying things had been tough but he stayed in school and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured her she was still the best teacher he had ever had. Four more years passed and yet another note came saying he had gotten his bachelor’s degree and decided to go further. And said she was still the best teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed Theodore F. Stoddard M.D.
Another letter in the spring said he had met a girl and was going to be married. His father had died and he wondered if she would come and sit in the wedding where the mother of the groom would sit.
Of course she did and she wore the bracelet with the rhinestones missing and she dabbed the same perfume behind her ears. They hugged each other and Dr. Stoddard whispered in her ear, “Thank you, Mrs. Thompson for believing in me and thank you for making me feel important and showing me I could make a difference.” She whispered back, “You have it all wrong Teddy. You are the one who taught me I could make a difference.”
For you that don’t know, Teddy Stoddard is the doctor at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. It is called “The Stoddard Cancer Unit.”
Reading this brought a tug at my heart and a tear to the eyes.
Best wishes to all and kindness is certainly a wonderful thing!”