Yep, I Made a Difference!

I cried at work today. Big, splooshy, roll-down-the-cheeks-and-smear-the-makeup tears. Of joy.

Let me explain.

I was tying up loose ends of a project, just a few minutes before a 1:30 meeting when my phone rang. Not recognizing the name on the caller id, I answered, “Literacy Resource Center. This is Dr. Clinton.”

A woman’s voice replied, “Do you have a minute?” As the Title I person, I get many sales cold-calls, so I said that I had just a minute. She continued, “I’m a former student of yours…” and instantly the name on the caller id clicked.


She seemed surprised—yet happy—that I remembered her, and went on to tell me how she now works in Washington, DC, and was in town visiting family when she decided to take a drive through her old neighborhood. When she drove past the elementary school, she thought of her first grade teacher and of me. Wondering if we were still there, she called the school. They told her the first grade teacher retired a few years ago, and gave them my office number. She told me (and this is when the tears started) that she wanted to call and let me know that I had made a big impact on her life. Mind you this was 25 years ago, my very first year as a classroom teacher and it was second grade.

She shared some favorite memories, like the mouse we had as a class pet. And the time she helped a boy who had a bloody nose, and some of it got on her coat. She was afraid her mom would get mad at her and so I gave her my sweater and washed her coat. (Trust me, I have no recollection of that event at all!)

I sit here now with a smile on my face, and a very vivid picture of 7-year-old Dena in my mind. She was a bit of a tomboy, and basically wore T-shirts and jeans every day. She had a spunky little personality and was one of my favorites. (Don’t tell any of the other students! lol)

She’s coming to see me on Monday. And I can’t wait!

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6 thoughts on “Yep, I Made a Difference!

  1. What a neat story! Hugs! Teachers do make a difference in the lives of people. Too bad our government has forgotten that.

  2. I bet that first-grade teacher was Janice. 😀 Great story, Linda. (And it seems that Dena and I had a similar grade school experience!)

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