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September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
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The Power of a Teacher


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Mrs. Fallon took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when they saw a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume.

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.

Moshe stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Fallon today you smelled just like my Mommy 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. Fallon paid particular attention to Moshe. 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, Moshe was one of the top students in the class.

A year later, she found a note under her door. It was from Moshe and it said that she was the best teacher he ever had. Six years went by before she got another note from Moshe. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had. A few years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Fallon that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had.

A few more years passed and yet another letter came. This time it said that after college, he decided to stay in school – and that she was still the best teacher he ever had. Only this time the note was signed, Moshe F. Feigin, MD.

The story doesn’t end there. You see there was yet another letter that spring. Moshe said he’d met a girl and was soon to be married and was asking her to come be part of the wedding. He explained that his father had passed away and he really didn’t have much family. Of course Mrs. Fallon said she would come.

She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. She made sure she was wearing the perfume that Moshe remembered his mother wearing on their last Chanukah together. At the chuppah, Dr. Feigin whispered in Mrs. Fallon’s ear, “Thank you for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”

Mrs. Fallon, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Moshe, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t really know how to teach until I met you.”

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.

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