He sat next to me on the back porch with his receding hairline, his graying mustache, and wrinkling skin. To me, he is both a grandfather and a teacher. Although my grandfather no longer teaches in a classroom, he is continuously sharing his knowledge with me.
My grandfather had chosen to devote almost his entire life to teaching. Why? Why out of all the things he could have chosen to be, had he chosen to be a teacher? This is a question that I carried with me for a long time. I was often reminded of this question whenever my grandfather told me stories of former students he had run into.
Last summer, on our way back from visiting a state park, my family stopped at a diner. There my grandfather bumped into one of his former students. As I sat at the table where my family was eating, I was trying to listen in on my grandfather’s conversation. It was clear to me that my grandfather still remembered his student, and the student still remembered my grandfather, even though it had been almost thirty years. As my grandfather talked, I could tell he was reflecting on the countless days he had stood at the front of a classroom teaching, for he had a smile on his face, and his eyes were distant as if he were looking back into a different time.
How my grandfather is able to so clearly remember almost all of his former students, and how former students are able to so clearly remember my grandfather, has always amazed me. Seeing the way he smiled, I understood. He was a teacher because he loved to teach and wanted students to love to learn. I realized my grandfather was willing to spend the majority of his life not only just teaching but inspiring his students to love to learn.
I believe that a love for learning is the most important thing that I have learned. This only became clear to me after I understood my grandfather’s motivation for teaching. Over the years, as school has gotten harder, my love for learning has motivated me to persevere and eventually succeed. The great thing about a love for learning is that I rarely find anything boring because I always find something that can be learned.
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