Marianne Perez de Fransius

Maputo, Mozambique


Marianne’s Unexpected Lesson

“You know what I remember most about you? That you were kind.”

Twenty years after finishing middle school, Marianne ran into Mme. Michel, her teacher from 6th to 8th grade. Marianne remembered working really hard to get good grades and that she was always in competition with a couple of other students to be first in the class. So when she saw Mme. Michel, she was expecting her comment to be something about how studious she had been.

Mme. Michel immediately recognized Marianne and told her about a little ritual that she had. She said, “You know, I keep all my student lists from all the years I’ve been teaching. Every once in awhile I go through them and think about each student that I’ve had. And you know what I remember most about you? That you were really, really kind.”

That really struck Marianne because she didn’t remember that period as one in which she made any particular effort to be nice, but rather as one in which she focused on her grades. It drove home the point that the things we focus on in school aren’t necessarily the ones that matter most nor the ones we’ll be remembered for.

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