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Pamela Elliott’s Incredible Story About the Extreme Impact a Teacher Can Have on an Individual’s Life

An Inspirational Story from Pamela Elliott:

This past school year I was pleased when a student I had in third grade came back to personally invite me to his wedding. He said I was the only teacher that had believed in him. It made me feel so wonderful that he would remember me and think enough of me to share the most important day of his life. I can t tell you how great that made me feel. It made not only my day but also the rest of my school year.

Then the day of the wedding arrived. I sat on the aisle seat so I could at least see the groom. When he came down the aisle with his new bride, we exchanged smiles and it made me feel special. I went through the receiving line and got big hugs from his sister, then from him and next his father and his mother. His mother was crying, don’t all mothers cry at weddings?! I told her how pleased I was to share this special day and she said, “You’ve done so much for our son.” I answered by saying that I was glad if I had, even though I wasn’t sure what. His mother then said that she’d like to tell me what sometime and I responded that I’d like that and sat back down. Soon after the head table was seated I felt a tug on my arm and it was the groom’s father. He said, “You’re wanted down front.” I couldn’t imagine why. As we approached his table he told me the groom wanted me to sit with his parents. I couldn’t believe that on “his” special day he would even be thinking about me, let alone want me to sit with his parents. Then the groom got up and came down to my table and presented me with roses. I was in such disbelief! I think I said something like, “This is your day, what are you doing?” He just grinned and went back to sit with his bride.

Then his parents said they wanted me to know “what” I had done for their son. They said that after he was in my class he had a really bad year where a teacher constantly put him down. He began writing that he was stupid, he was dumb and that he hated himself. Then one day he went out into their barn with the intention of hanging himself. He thought of me and my faith in him and couldn’t do it. His parents then thanked me for their son.

Needless to say I was overwhelmed with emotions. After I left the wedding reception, I cried all the way home. I have always promised myself that I would retire when I no longer enjoyed getting out of bed and heading for school. On that trip home I made a silent promise to this young man that as soon as I couldn’t support my students I would quit.

That didn’t seem enough somehow and a friend suggested I write this down and share it somewhere in order to affect a lot of teachers. Letting teachers know that they DO make a difference was a way for both the groom and me to really use this to help make a difference in someone else’s life.

Someone suggested using the word “inspire” and I initially thought that was a good idea. But, after thinking awhile, the word inspire means to me to move toward something and I think this whole incident SHOUTS that we ALREADY make a difference whether we ever know it or not. So keep up the good work and have a great year. This message comes from the groom and myself.

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