As she stood in front of her grade 5 class on the very first day of
school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she
looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same.
However, that was impossible, because there in the front row,
slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Koko. Mrs. Thompson
had watched Koko the year before and noticed that he did not play
well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that
he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Koko 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 Koko’s off until last.
However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Koko’s grade 1 teacher wrote, “Koko 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 grade 2 teacher wrote, “Koko is an excellent pupil, 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 grade 3 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
Koko’s grade 4 teacher wrote, “Koko is withdrawn and doesn’t show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 realised the problem and she was ashamed of
herself. She felt even worse when her pupils brought her presents,
wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Koko’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
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.
Koko 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, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she
began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to
Koko. 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, Koko had become one of the smartest
children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all
the children the same, Koko became one of her “teacher’s pets.”
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Koko, 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 Koko. He
then wrote that he had finished secondary 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 university with the
highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the
best and favorite teacher he had 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, Koko A. Bassey, MD.
The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter
that year. Koko said he had 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 at the
wedding in the place 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. Moreover,
she made sure she was wearing the perfume Koko remembered his
mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each
other, and Dr. Bassey 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 I could make a difference.”
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back, “Koko, you
have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me I could make a
difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”
Blogger Barry: Thanks for your time. Hope you enjoyed. Please
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Barry Blomkamp Nd. Bsc (UL)
Professional Public Speaker, Trainer and Corporate Entertainer,
Motivational speaker, Guest & Key note speaker, Seminar &
Conference speaker, Team Builder, Comedian, Master of Ceremonies,
For your Strategic Planning sessions, Management or Sales meetings,
Conferences and/or Seminars, Award functions, Year end parties,
Cape Town, South Africa.