Planting Seeds

To celebrate Thanksgiving Week, I would like to talk about the normally thankless job of education. As most of us are aware, educators are highly overworked and severely underpaid. It takes an immense toll on those of us who try to do it differently; that is in a way that truly makes a difference.

Being an educator is often compared to being a gardener in that we are planting the seeds and doing our best to encourage growth. Unfortunately the environment probably has more to do with our students’ success, or lack thereof, than we do. But sometimes those seeds take root and right in front of our eyes we see a student, or former student, blossom into the most amazing and beautiful creation.

And sometimes they take the time to let you know how much you have helped them in their development.

I got this today from JG, whom I had the pleasure of helping to move to his new campus a few months ago:

Mr. V,

Once you said that living in the past was not the road to take when you want to move forward. Your uplifting character has inspired me to continue my life despite the struggles when it seems that hope was gone. When no one was there to listen or to give me the push to continue my path to success, you where there. I am glad that I had the honor to be instructed by an awesome individual that has changed me not only academically but as a person. These last two years were different when you where on my side. You were the person that started to push me and overall believe in me and never give up on me no matter the struggle or circumstance. There are no words that can describe how grateful I feel for all the help you have provided me in school and in my personal problems.

A no never came from your lips. A no was never an option, a no was just not a part of who you are inside and you know something a no or a can not do is not one of my options either. If you ask where I learned it, I learned it from the best and that is you. I could write pages thanking you from the bottom of my hear and none of the words I write could ever explain or come near to the real meaning and appreciation I have for you and your undaunted character.
You have become more then a teacher. You are a friend and a role model; a person that has taught me respect and overall achievement in the odds of
defeat. I admire you. Honestly the few times I had the chance to be
lead by you it was an honor to be by your side. If I had to choose a
battle and choose a leader you would be up front in my mind and overall
in my heart.

Once again I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the help you have provided me, and for never giving up on me.

A new chapter has been opened in my life and that is that I am now in
college, thanks to your advice and character and believing in me. I know I went down the drain with some aspirations, but I do not look at it as an end I look at it as a beginning. I know you will be there when I graduate not only from college but medical school.

Thank you Mr. V

Sincerely:
JG

Pardon me, I need to find a kleenex…

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21 Responses to “Planting Seeds”

  1. Joan Says:

    Sniffle, pass the box to me please! It must feel so good knowing you’ve made such a difference to JG. I’m sure there are many more kids in the world who have been positively affected by Mr. V, it’s awesome that he took the time to express his gratitude for all you’ve done for him. What a great Thanksgiving gift! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Allison SuperCrafty Says:

    Wow, pass the Kleenex! What an articulate and heart-felt letter. A treasure. You should make a copy and keep it in your wallet to read whenever you’re down.

    I am thankful for you, Frank, my friend.

  3. Lori Says:

    OMG I’ll have to back and re-read it, I could barely focus through the tears!!! You definitely saw the brilliance and character in him. Thankfully, you were there for him and made him feel special, and worth something, and what a gracious young man to write such a thoughtful letter.
    Being a teacher is tough and usually unappreciated, I know, because my Dad is a retired teacher. At times Frank, you sometimes seem to drift from hobby to hobby…interest to interest, but as far as your choice of profession…I hope you never give it up. Being a combination TEACHER/FATHER is the greatest thing you can do for your own child. I know. Walks in the woods with my Dad were educational. Going to sporting events with my Dad were educational. Every day was a learning experience with him. Even trips to Kmart were educational…but never in a way that I felt I was always “in school”, but rather I look at it as the greatest gift in my life, that my Dad took the time to nurture and love me, and teach things to me and my siblings. Now he is teaching my boys about fishing, wood carving, and most of all, without even thinking about it…he’s teaching them to one day be good Dads. JG has experienced this from you. And hopefully soon, your own child will be looking up to you as the greatest thing that ever happened in his/her life. You have SO much to offer a child. XO

  4. Valerie Says:

    What a simply amazing gift…to tide you through all the downsides of being an educator.

    I know you only through your blog -a fairly anonymous internet friend – but who you are shines through loud and clear – you are simply amazing!

  5. Shelly Says:

    To get a letter like that must be one of the most rewarding things…I have no doubt that you are most deserving of such kind words and thoughts! Congratulations on being someone that is truly making a difference in people’s lives!

  6. Rachel Says:

    That is awesome. I’m sure there are many others who feel the same but just haven’t expressed it. What you do is incredibly important. Your students are not only the future, but a real and vital part of the present. Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. oldladypenpal Says:

    Oh, Frank! That is so amazing, but not at all surprising. I remember reading your post about taking JG up to school. That made me cry, and now this morning I read this post and it, too, made me cry! I caught your cold/deathly illness from your blog a few days ago, so here I am about to die, crying and hoping that I will make as much of a positive impact in my students next year!

  8. Carrie Says:

    Aw, Mr V, what a wonderful tribute! I know it doesn’t make up for the overwork and underpay, but WOW.

  9. Deven Says:

    Frank…

    you are the best and this letter shows why. You have it within you to be great. Your student, the beneficiary of this characteristic, tells you why. People like you are a national treasure. There is no satisfaction like that which your student gave you within his letter. Bravo!

  10. Marin Says:

    Awwwww.

    And I’m glad there are people like you who can inspire people like JG. It gives me hope for the future.

  11. aline Says:

    What a tribute to what makes you a Frank V. Your generosity has no limits, and your loyalty never unceasing. The letter is extremely touching, but I would not expect anything else intended for a kind and determined person like you.

  12. lyda Says:

    Sniffing away here too. And when he graduates, and then becomes a doctor, you will be helping all those patients you’ll never even meet. How great that he wrote to tell you all this.

  13. Margie Says:

    OMG Frank…that is the SWEETEST letter!! …you will be there when I graduate not only from college but medical school?! Sniff, sniff! What an absolutely AMAZING gift you have given this student…A FUTURE!!! That’s THE BEST gift you could have ever give anyone!!! You ROCK!!

  14. Liz Says:

    Wonderful – if only my boys had met someone who had inspired them during their dire education! You don’t want to adopt two gawky adult apprentices instead of a cute baby do you ?

  15. Danny Says:

    Wow, I work with teachers every day in my job in educational publishing, but this letter makes me wish I were a teacher. How inspiring, and how lucky that kid was to have you for a mentor.

  16. Princess Says:

    Amazing letter. Shit, share the Kleenex, will ya?

  17. dodi Says:

    Simply amazing! I remember when you took him up to school. Awww, now where’s my tissues?

  18. Anita Hobbs Says:

    Frank,
    That is awesome! I’ve been through many teachers with my kids and the one my little guy has now is just awesome! He had her last year and then she moved up a grade with him. I was so happy! You are so right, underpaid, to be sure!

    Out of curiosity, what do you teach and in what grade?

  19. Adele Says:

    I do hope you realize that though JG may be one of the few to express his gratitude, he is one of many whose life you have touched. XOX

  20. Lori Says:

    Frank, I must also add this. I shared your post with my Dad who used to teach. He pointed out that he was happy that in these days, in this country, it’s good to see that this young man looks at his education as a privilege, and not something he is forced to do.

  21. MX Says:

    Good gravy man, that is powerful!!!!!!!!!! What a gratifying and full life you have. You should be very proud.

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