Daily Prompt #36

What makes a teacher great?

The Gift of Teaching

I always loved school, but I never realized how much until I almost lost it. It was my senior year of college, and I was looking forward to graduating with honors and pursuing my dream of becoming a journalist. I had worked hard for four years, taking challenging courses, joining extracurricular activities, and making lifelong friends. I especially enjoyed my English classes, where I learned from the most eccentric and inspiring professors I had ever met. They taught me how to think critically, write creatively, and appreciate literature in all its forms.

But then, everything changed. In the middle of the fall semester, I started feeling sick. I had nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. I thought it was just a bad case of food poisoning, but it turned out to be something much worse. In the past, I was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a condition where the stomach muscles don’t work properly and food stays in the stomach for too long. This condition caused me to develop a severe infection and septic shock, a life-threatening complication where the body’s organs fail due to low blood pressure. I had to be hospitalized immediately. The doctors told me I needed intensive care and antibiotics as soon as possible, or else I wouldn’t make it.

I was devastated. How could this happen to me? Why now, when I was so close to finishing my degree and starting my career? What about all the plans I had made for the future? I felt like my life was over.

But then, something amazing happened. My professors reached out to me and offered their support. They told me they were sorry to hear about my condition, and that they wanted to help me in any way they could. They said they would let me Zoom into their classes from the hospital, and that they would adjust the deadlines and requirements for my assignments. They said they would do everything in their power to make sure I graduated on time and with honors.

I was touched by their kindness and generosity. They didn’t have to do this for me. They could have easily said that I had to withdraw from their courses or take an incomplete grade. They could have focused on their own work and research, or on their other students who were physically present in the classroom. But they didn’t. They chose to care about me, and to give me a chance to continue my education despite my illness.

They also made me feel less alone and isolated in the hospital. They would chat with me before and after class, asking me how I was doing and what I needed. They would share jokes and stories with me, making me laugh and smile. They would send me emails and messages, checking up on me and encouraging me. They would even send me cards and gifts, such as books, magazines, puzzles, and snacks.

They were more than just teachers. They were mentors, friends, and heroes.

They also inspired me to keep fighting for my life. They showed me that there was still hope and beauty in the world, even when everything seemed dark and hopeless. They showed me that there was still something worth living for: learning.

They made learning fun, engaging, and very unique. They taught me about topics that fascinated me, such as poetry, mythology, drama, and film. They challenged me to think outside the box, to express myself freely, and to explore new perspectives. They praised me for my work, gave me constructive feedback, and helped me improve my skills. They also shared their own passions and experiences with me, making me admire them even more.

They taught me not only about English, but also about life.

They taught me how to be resilient, optimistic, and courageous in the face of adversity.

They taught me how to be compassionate, empathetic, and generous towards others who are suffering.

They taught me how to be curious, creative, and adventurous in pursuing my dreams.

They taught me how to be a better person.

They gave me the gift of teaching.

And thanks to them, I made it through the hardest time of my life. I responded well to the treatment and antibiotics, and I recovered from the infection and septic shock. I regained my health and strength. I completed all my coursework online from the hospital bed or from home when I was discharged. And finally, I graduated with honors from college in the spring.

I was so proud of myself for achieving this milestone, but I couldn’t have done it without my professors. They were there for me every step of the way, cheering me on and celebrating with me. They congratulated me warmly and told me how happy they were for me to have graduated against the odds.

They also told me how proud they were of me.

And that meant more to me than anything else.

Because they were not only my teachers.

They were also students.

And they gave me the gift of learning.

6 responses to “Daily Prompt #36”

  1. Great teachers are warm, accessible and enthusiastic. Let’s follow each other’s blog.

  2. Thank you for sharing such a powerful and moving story of the impact your professors had on your life. It’s incredible to see how their support, compassion, and dedication made a significant difference during a challenging time for you. Your professors went above and beyond their role as educators, showing genuine care, understanding, and flexibility to ensure your continued education and success.

    Their commitment to your well-being, both academically and personally, is truly inspiring. They created a sense of belonging, provided a support system, and made you feel valued even when you were physically distant. Their gestures of sending cards, gifts, and engaging in conversations demonstrated their genuine interest in your progress and happiness.

    Not only did they guide you academically, but they also instilled important life lessons and qualities that will stay with you forever. Their ability to make learning engaging, unique, and enjoyable showcases their dedication to fostering curiosity, critical thinking, and personal growth.

    Your story is a testament to the profound impact teachers can have on their students’ lives. Your professors exemplified the true essence of great teachers – mentors, friends, and heroes. They demonstrated the power of education, resilience, empathy, and compassion.

    Congratulations on your graduation and achieving your goals against all odds. Your journey, coupled with the support of your professors, is an inspiring reminder of the strength we can find within ourselves and the invaluable impact of exceptional teachers. Thank you for sharing this remarkable story of the gift of learning and the profound influence of great teachers in our lives.

  3. That’s so sweet of them! I have great professors like this but they’re hard to find. That’s why you have to cherish the kind ones.

    As well, congratulations for graduating with honors! That’s an amazing accomplishment!

  4. Wonderful

  5. Best wishes for your bright future

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