A Little Appreciation Goes a Long Way
I just recently read the book Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It's a short memoir about the interactions between Mitch and his former professor, who is suffering from ALS.
While reading books, I attempt to empathize with the characters, imagining how the character felt during a certain instance in the book. In this book, I imagined how Morrie felt during these interactions, and I think he must have been filled with great purpose and warmth from Mitch's spending Tuesdays with him. Morrie's a great teacher and a great person, and I imagine that he's taught hundreds, if not thousands, of students. However, I imagine that Mitch is one of the only few who have stayed in touch and expressed appreciation by helping Morrie.
This is pretty evident when Mitch provides background information on his relationship with Morrie. Although Mitch has taken all of Morrie's classes, visited many office hours, and promised to stay in touch, he did not follow through with his promise. Mitch and Morrie shared a meaningful connection, but this connection fell apart when Mitch graduated. You can only imagine how Morrie's interactions with other students were after graduation; they were probably nonexistent.
This realization made me sad slightly. Teachers probably chose to become teachers because they enjoy helping students succeed. Great teachers contribute to a student's success in areas not measurable by grades, in areas such as being a better citizen, developing morals, and figuring out how to approach problems. Yet, most teachers probably don't get to see the impact of their work.
Towards the end of my high school days and throughout college, I devoted some of my free time to teaching and helping people, from dispensing career advice, holding outreach events, and teaching workshops. I enjoyed all of it, and my favorite moments were seeing the happiness in people after succeeding at something and having someone come up to me and give me feedback (or even better, appreciation).
There are many times when I wonder how the people who I've tried to help are doing. I can only imagine how teachers feel. When you're accustomed to people coming and going, having one person show his or her appreciation or provide his or her feedback must feel so awesome.
So, for those who read this, try to show some appreciation to people who've helped you a lot. It really does go a long way.