A Small Act Of Kindness Goes A Long Way
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A Small Act Of Kindness Goes A Long Way

What a teacher I never talked to taught me.

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A Small Act Of Kindness Goes A Long Way
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When I was in seventh grade, there was a boy in one of my classes who wouldn't leave me alone. I'm not sure if he made fun of me or just talked all during class, but it bothered me enough that I told my dad. He told me to tell the teacher, but I was shy and didn't want to cause any trouble. Besides, I wasn't close to this teacher. I had probably never said a word in his class or to him. Eventually, my dad went to talk to my teacher on his own.

The next day this teacher rearranged our assigned seats. I knew why.

The the kid that had been annoying me was no longer right next to me, but in the row in front of me. He would turn around sometimes still to talk to me or tease me or whatever it was he was doing.

One the day our teacher was passing papers out, a test or a quiz, and when mine hit my desk, there was a sticky note on it. I barely had time to read it before I crumpled it up and put it in my hoodie pocket.

“Is Jesse bothering you?” it said in my teacher's handwriting, with a smiley face at the bottom.

I never responded to that note, and I never spoke a word of it to my teacher or anyone else. When I got home that day I took the note out of my pocket and put it in a shoe box under my bed, along with notes I passed in class with my friends and whatever else a 13-year-old girl keeps in a shoe box under her bed.

A a couple of months ago I was cleaning out my room and came across the shoe box. There were new items in it, mostly from boys I dated over the last seven years, but that yellow sticky note was still in there.

I still, can't remember ever talking in that teacher's class over the two years he taught me. And now I feel bad that I never acknowledged him asking if I was okay. This teacher I never talked to, whose classes I sat in the back row and read books through, took the time and effort to be kind when he knew he would probably never be acknowledged for it.

I keep that sticky note in my wallet now as a reminder that even when no one acknowledges your kindness when it appears wasted on someone who seems they don't care, you never really know what is going through their mind. Your kindness may not be returned or even acknowledged, but that doesn't mean it is not appreciated. One small act of kindness may stick with someone for years, like what my teacher did for me.

The note also reminds me that people are usually nicer than we assume. As a student of this teacher, I saw him as a coach who cared more about joking with the girls I saw as “popular” than anything else. I look back now and see that it was those girls who joked with him in class, while he politely bantered back. This teacher was soft spoken and probably cared more than I let him. He probably would have been more than willing to listen to me tell him about the boy who was bothering me and help me in any way he could.

Maybe I am wrong now and my teacher never cared, he was only doing what he thought was necessary after my dad came in and talked to him. But regardless of his intentions or character, his actions towards me as a seventh grader have stuck with me all these years, reminding me that even the smallest things we do can affect people in big ways.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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