101: Touching the Future

101: Touching the Future

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teacher Tales

Touching the Future

The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.

~Plato

I am honored and blessed to work in the greatest profession. Despite the long hours and hard work, I finish each day feeling as though I have made a difference. This is the drive that keeps teachers invigorated and passionate. As Christa McAuliffe said “I touch the future, I teach.”

When I was named Maryland Teacher of the Year, I received a congratulatory e-mail from a former student, Morgan, who is currently attending Georgetown University and is an officer of the student-run Women in Politics group. I recently turned on the television to watch a college basketball game to find another former student, Austin, running up and down the court for Georgetown. Walking through a shopping mall recently, I encountered a former student, Olade, dressed in a suit. After a brief greeting, he handed me a business card for the company that he just started, at age twenty-two. Another student said he is in the process of applying for law school at Howard University. Believe it or not, I encounter former students with similar success stories nearly every week. One student, Ta-sha, is off to the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore next year to study, of all things, Social Studies/Education. Now that’s a student after my own heart!

Seeing the success of former students and knowing that I was able to make a small contribution to their success during the time that they sat in my class, is the greatest reward. Sometimes, while I am watching my current students working and interacting in class, I try to picture what they will be doing ten years from now. I wonder if I am looking at a future senator or judge. Can you imagine being able to say, “I taught Senator Thomas government in tenth grade?” I would not trade my career for any other. We literally touch the future each and every day.

~William Thomas
2009 Maryland State Teacher of the Year
Social Studies teacher, grade 10

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