One of the first people I met when I started teaching was Ellen. Ellen was kind, considerate, and always asking how my day was. One of the best compliments I can give Ellen is that she reminded me of my grandmother. For a rookie teacher, anyone who took an interest in how you were doing was a blessing. Just spending a minute talking with her and you knew she was genuine and really cared about you. Ellen was our building's janitor. I would get to know her very well over the next few years and would eventually have her grandson as one of my students.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from one of my former students. He sounded a bit down and told me what no teacher ever wants to hear, "Mr. Storm, I have some bad news." He went on to tell me that his grandmother had just passed away yesterday and asked if I would be able to attend the funeral. He told me out of all the teachers she worked with and got to know, you were the one she always talked about. She really cared about you.
As I write this I think about the many relationships I've developed over the years - from superintendents, to principals, to teachers, students, and janitors. These are what make teaching the most important job in the world. Every one of the people I've met over the years has left a mark on me. I only hope that I will be able to leave the same mark on people that Ellen left on me.