The Teacher Who Cared

The Teacher Who Cared

From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul

The Teacher Who Cared

A teacher affects eternity; no one can tell where his influence stops.

Henry Adams

Mrs. Barrow, room 501, room 501, I repeated to myself as I scanned the hallways looking for the room number. It was my first day of fifth grade and I was really scared.

I came to the end of the hall and found an open door. Stepping into the room, I suddenly felt out of place. I tried to act normal, but Mrs. Barrow saw right through me.

“Good morning, Courtni. You may pick your seat.”

I glanced about the room and took an empty seat near a girl named Wendy Barber. As the year slowly progressed, Wendy and I became good friends. I felt no closeness to Mrs. Barrow, though. I saw her as “just another teacher.”

Mrs. Barrow had us write a paper on what we wanted to be when we grew up. Some kids asked why. She explained that when her former students graduated, she liked them to come back and share their fifth-grade dreams together, as a memento of their childhood. I decided right then and there that I liked Mrs. Barrow.

Then, my grandmother, who lived with us, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. About a month later, Grandma slipped into a coma and died. Losing her was unbearable for me. I missed some school because I was so sad.

At the funeral, I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself when I looked up and saw Mrs. Barrow standing there. She sat down next to me and held my hand. She comforted me by reminding me that now Grandma had no more pain or suffering. It had never occurred to me that it was better for my grandma this way. All I thought about was how sad it was for me.

After the funeral, we went to my aunt’s house to see the flowers that had been sent. My mom handed me a pretty ivy plant in a pink pot. The attached card read:

Courtni,

I’m sorry about your grandmother. Never forget, I love you. You are like one of my children.

With love,
Mrs. Barrow

I wanted to cry. I took the plant home, watered it and put it in my grandma’s old room. I am in eighth grade now and I still have that plant. I never thought a teacher could care that much about her students: now I know.

I say this with all my heart: Anyone who is lucky enough to have a teacher like Mrs. Barrow in their life, even for a short while, is privileged beyond words. She may not know it, but she means more to me than she’ll ever know. I can only hope this gives her inspiration and repays to her a tiny portion of what she has done for me.

To Mrs. Barrow—I love you very much. You’re much more than a teacher—you are like a mother to me.

Courtni Calhoun, thirteen

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