What got me was how he said it was me who got him into engineering and through the first three terms of calculus in college. He said he could not have done it without the things he learned in my class. I am not sure this is true, but it sure felt good to hear it. Needless to say, he made my day.
When I left the high school I doubted myself as a teacher. After all, when someone repeatedly tells you how awful you are, you start to wonder if they are right. Mr. AP did this to me all the time. In fact, I heard he is still talking about me (and not in a nice way) at department meetings. I have no illusions about myself as being G-d's gift to teaching. I know I had my faults but I also know I worked very hard, put in tons of extra hours and put my students first. Looking back, I know I made a difference in many of their lives, a difference that is helping them lead good lives now.
It is no secret that I did not get along with my former AP. At one point he even promised me that I would end up retiring on a very sour note and he did everything possible to insure this would happen. What he could not take, and will never take is the joy of learning I instilled in my students, the respect I gave them and they gave me in return and the love we had for each other. I was not the teacher he wanted me to be but I was the teacher my students wanted and needed. I served them well. Students like the one I met today help me reaffirm my belief that what I did was not only not bad, but that it was pretty good.
(picture-Freedom Tower from St Paul's Church)