“If you become a teacher, by your pupils you’ll be taught.” – Oscar Hammerstein II, THE KING & I
Last night, I celebrated the accomplishments of approximately 30 students, and rejoiced at the successes of several former students, now on national tours.
This afternoon, I joined several former students (sisters and cousins) to grieve with them the passing of their beloved grandfather. I’ve watched these girls grow up for the past 17 years. I loved their families, and still do. Though I’ve not seen most of them for nearly a decade, save on Facebook posts, the reception I received was both, tender, and thrilling.
My friend, Jeff Carter, who also serves as brother, uncle/godfather to my sons, and mentor, and I have oft discussed our roles as teachers. Jeff is director of music at Webster University, and also a private voice instructor. We cherish our students, the role we play in their lives, but more importantly, the role they play in ours. We are not only mentors, teachers, coaches, role models, but ‘uncles,’ as well.
It’s a blessed profession/life, indeed.
Many of my students I’ve watched grow up through the years. Quite often, they begin at 5 or 6 years, taking piano lessons, and merge into saxophone or voice so they can remain with me in the studio. Thus, I literally have one quarter to one half of my students for 12 to 13 years. And, they never truly leave!
As with my students I saw today, I’ve known their parents, siblings, and quite often grandparents, and other extended family members. Some families I’ve known for nearly thirty years – this fall – and, we are still as fond of one another as we were “back then.”
Yes, teachers do touch lives, but there is so much we, as teachers, receive when working with our students. It’s all mutual.
Despite the occasion of a grandparent’s passing, it was wonderful seeing these beautiful young women I’d joyfully watched grow since most were in elementary and middle school. And, it was wonderful getting hugs from the three Ohmer sisters.
It is exciting to share the achievements of a student’s success, and progress, but it is also rewarding to share in moments that are less joyful as we are reminded of a particular bond between student and teacher, and now, as adults, friend and friend.
God bless these families as they grieve, but thanks be to God that they are a part of my life… tis a wonderful life, indeed!