Three Life Changing Words : Teacher who made the Difference


student deaf

I’m convinced that we can have a profound effect on anyone with whom we come into contact. Some act that we deem totally insignificant can literally shape someone else’s future. The right words at just the right time could totally change someone’s life.

Years ago, that’s what happened to me. My life was dramatically transformed because a simple three-word phrase was delivered at the right time in just the right way.

When I was three years old, my parents discovered I was totally deaf, a situation which forced them to make crucial decisions about my education. After consulting with numerous educational specialists, doctors, psychologists and parents of other deaf children, they made a decision that would forever alter my future. Instead of sending me to a private school for the deaf, they decided to “mainstream” me. All of my peers and teachers would have normal hearing.

Since I started going there in 3rd grade, I was the only deaf child at Blue Creek Elementary School in the small, quiet town of Latham, New York. From almost the first day there, the other kids taunted me and called me names mainly because of my hearing aid and the way I talked. I remember thinking, “What have I done wrong?”

My hearing aid was a rectangular box that was harnessed to my shoulders and hung from my neck like an albatross. It created a big lump on my chest with wires running from the box to my ears. Actually, the hearing aid was a miraculous little device that allowed me to pick up slight sounds and noises around me by enhancing my “residual” hearing.

I experienced great anxiety throughout Elementary school because, in addition to the problems of “fitting in” with the other students, I also struggled mightily with most of my school work. I seemed to spend every spare moment doing homework just so I could keep up. I was convinced that my parents and teachers were deeply disappointed in me because of my academic struggles. The teachers didn’t know what to do with me nor did they show much interest in any of my rare accomplishments. 

My hearing disability required me to constantly ask everyone, “What did he/she say?” I worried that everyone would soon grow tired of repeating everything back to me. Fitting in was so important to me that every time people around me laughed or smiled, I did the same even though I usually had no idea what was going on. This was repeated at the dinner table at home. Whenever my family had company, I felt left out because I missed the secrets, stories and punch lines. To cope with this, I always volunteered to do the dishes so that I could be excused from participating in the discussions. No wonder my hands were so soft all these years!

When the kids made fun of me, I internalized all of it. I was sure that I was a bad person; I felt I deserved their sneers. Although on the surface, I was gregarious, outgoing and “happy-go-lucky,” in reality, my self-esteem was quite low. I saw myself as an ugly buck-toothed kid wearing a weird-looking box around his neck who wasn’t even smart enough to keep up with the rest of the other kids. Mrs. Jordan, my 5th grade teacher, changed all of that with a simple three-word phrase. A large woman with salt and pepper hair, and twinkling brown eyes, Mrs. Jordan had a voice that boomeranged off the walls of her tiny classroom. One morning, she asked the class a question. 

I read her lips from my front-row seat and immediately raised my hand. I couldn’t believe it – for once I knew the answer. But, when she called on me, I was afraid. Here was an opportunity to impress the powerful teacher and show her I was worthy of her love. Maybe even impress my classmates a little. I didn’t want to blow it. Despite my fears, I felt uncharacteristically confident because – for once – I was sure I had the right answer. I took a deep breath and nervously answered Mrs. Jordan’s question.

I will never forget what happened next. 

Her response was explosive. It startled all of us. Mrs. Jordan enthusiastically slammed her right foot on the floor and whirled her right finger in a full circle until it pointed directly at me. With sparkling eyes and a wide smile she cried, “THAT’S RIGHT STEPHEN!” 

For the first time in my young life, I was an instant star. My heart burst with pride as an ear-to-ear grin filled my face. I sat a little taller in my chair and puffed out my chest. My confidence soared like never before.

I decided right then and there that I would make a place for myself in this world. No matter how many obstacles I might encounter in life, I knew I could overcome them. A simple three-word phrase delivered with incredible enthusiasm had totally transformed my young life. “THAT’S RIGHT STEPHEN!”

“From that day forward, my grades and speech improved dramatically. My popularity among my peers increased and my outlook on life did a complete turnabout. It was all because Mrs. Jordan believed in me and wasn’t afraid to express it. “THAT’S RIGHT STEPHEN!”

Courtesy ©Stephen J. Hopson – Michigan

We are privileged to share this experience of Stephen here in our blog. Inspiration can be drawn from anywhere. We are here in India, a small town you may not find in the World Map. But we all do carry a unique identity called feelings. Some one from Michigan helping here to inspire. That is what so special about being human. Random acts of kindness unites us.

Its not a student who always goes around with “Learning Mode” activated. We do need to understand those little souls of Students and keep our minds open to learn too. We elders do play various roles as Teachers, Parents, Siblings or a Friend to a Kid. You may not believe, as happened in our friend Stephen’s life, the act may be very little for the doer but the one who needs value it for the entire life.

Some day so long ago, I was just a kid sitting in a class room, got the inspiration to think on own and started believing on me. Life had been so tough at younger age but it was few random acts of kindness and encouragement from teachers and friends had changed my life positive.

It keeps on happening around the globe to some Stephen in US, some Dinesh in India or some Wang in Tibet. All we need to learn is, keep motivating the positives, you don’t know the result, but be sure the result will always change someone’s life good.

Let’s Appreciate Life.

-Words by

Din

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22 thoughts on “Three Life Changing Words : Teacher who made the Difference

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  1. And you, dear soul, have just giving me the words I needed to keep publishing the positive. At times it does become discouraging because the world seems to crave active, excitement, thrill and all the surface aspects of living. As you indicated, as we become elders, we can “stay the course” with steady, confident trust in the goodness we know the world possesses. Talk about our childhood with each other and we’ll see how similar we are!

    Blessings. You’ve lightened my heart.

    Like

    1. Feeling modest for your feedback. I am just 26 and at times i feel I talk too much for my age, feel people may find me odd 🙂 But doing my best to make my living meaningful via Propel Steps.

      An integral part of our lives to be there for one another with compassion and learn consistent. Thank you for visiting, in fact genuine feedback motivates me to share the best in me and look out for.

      Peace and Love.

      Like

      1. I’m glad you share your soul. It takes courage. Yes, we do feel “odd” at times, but goodness and Love is never odd. Many have braved society before us – and they’ve given us a legacy. Let’s stick together and keep going! 🙂

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    1. Thanks Stuart, That has the right message of what it all needed for us. Very simple things can make big differences.

      Thank you once again for taking your time to leave a feedback. Keep visiting whenever feasible for you 🙂

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    1. There is a saying my dad tells me always. Help to someone who is near to you without hesitation, you will be blessed with so many souls around you. World itself a small place now cos of technology. brought us together to share our views. Happy to hear from you.

      Thank you so much for you visiting and taking your time to share a feedback. Lets do as you say. 🙂

      Regards
      Dinesh

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  2. Truly remarkable post..l will follow your blog to read more of your posts..l appreciate taking the time to follow my site.Wishing you success with your endeavors.Jalal

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    1. Thank you 🙂 sure we share inspiring posts and it is all caring for each other and letting know what we care for.

      I wish you all the best and love to stay in touch. 🙂

      Regards
      Dinesh

      Like

  3. Welcome! Thank you for subscribing to follow my blog. I hope you are encouraged, inspired and enjoy the photos I take of life’s events as seen through the lens of my camera.
    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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