Peter dunlace 1970Hey teacher. Think you don’t have impact? Think again.

I had lunch yesterday with a former student of mine. It was my first year teaching. I was 21. She was 10. It was the early seventies. It was some forty years ago.

She proceeded to tell me how I changed her life through an art lesson on perspective and, specifically, on ‘how to see’ and to draw a tree. Her description was detailed and formidable. The actions I suggested and the emotions created in her changed the way she has looked at things since.

This former charge of mine then continued with countless other intricate stories of her learning and my teaching. I listened in amazement—and, admittedly, with much pleasure.

One of the things she said she loved most was that I was present. I listened and genuinely seemed to care.

I was flattered at having such a profound impact on this person.

Not All Good

But, I know, it wasn’t like that for all students in my classes throughout the years. I am sure not all had the benefit of my good side. What about those times when my weaknesses were in play?

My moodiness.

My skilful switchblade of sarcasm.

My impatience and dreadful dismissiveness.

What about those times?

What impact did that have on some children?

Hey teacher. Choose your impact.