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HomeStorytime!Bible StudiesPoems for the HungryAbout the Author
The Teacher

Her name was Mrs. Thompson. As she stood in front of
her 5th grade class on the very first day of school,
she told the children a lie.
Like most teachers, she looked at her students and
said that she loved them all the same. But that was
impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in
his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and
noticed that he didn't play well with the other
children that his clothes were messy and that he
constantly needed a bath.  And Teddy could be unpleasant.
It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually
take delight in marking his papers with a broad red
pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F"
at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was
required to review each child's past records and she
put Teddy's off until last.  However, when she
reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright 
child with a ready laugh.  He does his work neatly and
has good manners...he is a joy to be around."
His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent
student, well liked by his classmates, but he is
troubled because his mother has a  terminal illness
and life at home must be a struggle."
His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has
been hard on him.  He tries to do his best, but his
father doesn't show much interest and his home life
will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is
withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school.
He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps
in class."
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she
was  ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her
students brought  her Christmas presents, wrapped
in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for
Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the
heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag.
Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of
the other  presents. Some of the children started to
laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some
of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one
quarter full of perfume.
But she stifled the children's laughter when she
exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on,
and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.
Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long
enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just
like my Mom used to," After the children left she
cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit
teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic.
Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson
paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with
him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she
encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of
the year, Teddy had become one of smartest children in
the class and, despite her lie that she would love all
the children the same, Teddy became one of
her "teacher's pets."
A year later, she found a note under her door, from
Teddy, telling her that  she was still the best
teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from
Teddy. He  then wrote that he had finished high
school, third in his class, and she was still the best 
teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying
that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed
in school, had stuck with it,  and would soon graduate
from college with the highest of honors. He assured
Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite
teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter
came. This time he explained that after he got his
bachelor's degree,  he decided to go a little further.
The letter explained that she was still the best and
favorite teacher he ever had.
But now his name was a little longer-the letter was
signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.
The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet
another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this
girl and was going to be married.
He explained that his father had died a couple of
years ago and he was  wondering if Mrs. Thompson might
agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was
usually reserved for the mother of the groom.
Of course, Mrs. Thompson did.
And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with
several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was
wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother
wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged
each other, and  Dr. Stoddard whispered in
Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson  for
believing in me.  Thank you so much for making me feel
important and showing me that I could make a difference."
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.
She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong.
You were the one who taught me that I could
make a difference.  I didn't know how to teach until I met you."
Warm someone's heart today . . . pass this along.
Please remember that wherever you go, and whatever
you do, you will have the opportunity to touch and/or
change a person's outlook.
Please try to do it in a positive way.
"Friends are angels who lift us to our feet
when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly"

"Neither doctrinal purity nor diligent labor will ever be a substitute for passionate devotion to God."

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