30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Two Powerful Words

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to choose a career based on interest, not money.  This philosophy might not fit everyone's personality... but it has suited me just fine.

During my second year in college, my counselor told me I needed to decide what degree I wanted to pursue.  Up until then my parents figured I would follow my father's footsteps and become a computer engineer.  I always enjoyed math and working on computers, so it made sense.  But after taking a few Early Childhood Education courses, I had found a new interest.  Education.


Twenty-something years later, I can honestly say I've never regretted that decision.  I absolutely love my job.  Don't get me wrong.  It's not all fun and games.  There are report cards, grading assignments, parent issues, yard duty, staff meetings, and the occasional annoying student.


But for every one of these negatives there are a multitude of positives.  The one that stands out the most is the appreciation you receive from parents and students.  There's just something priceless about a former student coming back and saying "thank you".  It's truly amazing how powerful those two words are.


A few weeks ago, one of my former students visited me during summer school.  I hadn't seen or heard from her in several years, but I immediately recognized her.  She wanted to let me know that she had been accepted to UC Berkeley and was starting there in the fall.  You can imagine how proud I was of her to hear that.  She also thanked me for helping her through middle school and getting her prepared for high school.


It was nice catching up and reliving memories... most of which I totally forgot about (sorry... I'm getting old).  Eventually I had to get back to my summer school students (don't worry... they were at recess).  But before we said goodbye, she handed me a gift bag with this in it...



Four years after she left my class, she still remembered that I am a San Diego Padres fan.  How cool is that? 



I have seen these Pop Vinyl figures at toy shows before, but never knew they made MLB mascots until then.  I actually went out and purchased a second one on Amazon, so I can keep one in my classroom and have one for my office.


Thank you Stephanie!  Best of luck at Berkeley.  Go Bears!

24 comments:

  1. Cool story indeed and cool item.

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  2. This is a great reminder how teachers DO influence their students, we often only here about the bad ones and never the great ones-congrats!

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    1. Lol. That's such an awesome point. For every positive story in the news about teachers... there's a negative. But then again... that could be said for just about anything. It's probably why I stopped watching the news years ago. Way too depressing.

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  3. Awesome story, Fuji. I still remember my teachers I had -- both whether they were good or bad and whether I liked them or not -- and I'm 42!

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    1. Me too. When I first started teaching, I went back to my old elementary school to thank those that inspired and shaped me. Unfortunately none of them worked there anymore. But every now and then, my buddies and I will sit around talking about them.

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  4. So the two powerful words weren't "Free beer"?

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    1. Lol... maybe that's today's post.

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  5. Awesome story and awesome Funko POP. I love POP figures and was thrilled when I learned there would be MLB Mascots. Makes me wish that there was a Yankee mascot so I could pick one up though.

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    1. After "popping" it open... I instantly regretted not inventing these. Can't imagine the millions of dollars the founders are rolling in. They're so simple... yet cool. The packaging is also really nice.

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  6. Back in high school I was a nerd supreme (unlike today... *cough*) and would've been happy to play in my school's computer lab all day... I went to college and got my degree in Computer Science and people were constantly telling me that it was such a great field to be in and I'd be able to name my salary and never worry about employment.

    I don't know what your father's experiences were, but mine weren't as rosy as predicted. While I'm generally happy with my career path, I am not driving a Ferrari to work, I do not get 15 weeks of vacation a year, and I have had numerous occasions to be genuinely concerned about finding and/or keeping employment.

    ...Which is my long-winded way of saying you absolutely made the right choice and I truly enjoy hearing about people who enjoy their jobs as much as you do. I wish you many more students like Stephanie!

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    1. My father sort of lucked out. He started preparing for retirement in the mid 90's and retired in 1998, so he avoided the "tech" crash and was able to enjoy the mid 90's boom. But you're right... although he's always lived a comfortable lifestyle and provide for his family and my mom, he's never been able to afford a Ferrari.

      As for the 15 weeks of vacation... it would be nice if I actually was able to use the 15 whole 15 weeks. I usually soak in the one week at Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, one week in February, one week in April, and two weeks in August. The other seven, I end up needing to teach summer school to help pay the bills. But I'm not complaining. If I didn't teach summer school... Steph never would have been able to deliver The Swingin' Friar ;-)

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    2. That's funny, I was just using 15 weeks as an example of "way more vacation than I've ever seen while still employed", I didn't even think of it in terms of the school year.

      ...But now that you mention it, you DO get far more vacation than I do...

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  7. My grandmother taught for 40 years in the town I still live in. She absolutely loved what she did. I still have people come up to me and tell me what an influence she had on their lives. Keep it up Fuji.

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    1. Thanks Mark! 40 years is awesome!

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  8. Well said. I have 25 years in the same school and I get some thanks from old students but I get more parents that tell me "I had you for a teacher, too!" Yes, and thanks for reminding me how old I am. ;-)

    But the ones that send me graduation invites and notes from college (yup, some kids DO still write...with a pen no less!) make it worthwhile.

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    1. I'm truly impressed. 25 years at the same school? I had dreams of staying at my first school, but transferred after my buddy received his principalship. The one thing I regret about moving is that many of those students and I lost contact with each other. I'm at the point where some of my students have had kids... but I haven't run across any YET. I'm sure that'll change in the next few years.

      Either way... having student come back in their twenties (some already out of college) has one major downside... it makes me feel old. On the flip side, it's fun to hear their stories. As for those letters... one of my TA's a few years ago gave me the idea of starting a binder for all of those letters, hand drawn pictures, photos, and cards I've received from students. I always tell my students that one day they're going to be famous and I'm going to pull their letter out of my binder and sell it on eBay ;-)

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  9. As a parent, It's hard to command attention from your kids. I've always said that having to engage, and have a whole class of kids focus on YOU must be extremely challenging. Keep up the good work ;)

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    1. Thanks. Just like everything else in life... there are good days and tough days. I find the key is winning their respect. I always tell my student teachers that classroom management is a big part of the job. It's also one of the reasons "character development" is a huge part of my curriculum. I also try to use humor and interesting lessons to hold their attention... but once again... there are good days and tough days ;-)

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  10. A beautiful story, Fuji. It's clear your decision to become a teacher is positively and generously impacting the lives of your students. You know, in one sense it's pretty cool to see your impact as a living legacy to those who are with you for a year or so and as they move on, you're in some way part of what they become.

    Now, about that Swinging Friar bobble-head, I haven't see it nor anything else from Pop Vinyl. And now you have 2?! I'm jealous as that thing is awesome!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. It truly is an amazing profession. As for the Swinging Friar... they're less than $11 on Amazon. Kind of expensive for a piece of plastic, but they're definitely cool.

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