Just yesterday, he texted me and told me an incident with a student that left him very distraught. The student killed an ant and he told me that he was so upset with the whole incident that he didn’t talk for 5 mins. I guess it’s his way of mourning over the passing of a life so carelessly and needlessly taken away.
And then he told me it was me who taught him to value the life of an ant back way when I taught him as a student.
Frankly, I couldn’t remember that incident. I have a habit of asking students not to kill ants when I see them crawling over their textbooks or notebooks. For my student, he reminded me that he was going to kill it with liquid paper but I told him not to do it. I vaguely recalled that he was toying with the life of a sentient being and I was disgusted with that attitude, so I had this huge argument with him over it. However, he told me recently that it took him nearly 10 years to learn the lesson.
I’m both proud and humbled by this incident. As teachers or tutors, we have to be careful of what we say and how we treat others. Eventually the integration and trigonometry that we teach the students will be long forgotten, but the values and the life lessons will remain. Well, at least some of it, and to some people. Ultimately, we need to show more love at the end of the day.
I’ll continue doing what I do – changing the world one student at a time.