When I was twenty years old, I decided to quit studying. And to clear the air with my mother, I chose a quick course to take - before the end was over: Shorthand.
That's right. The course was already quite out of fashion, but to say that the year had not gone by in vain, I went to enroll at Senac.
Shorthand is an art. The art of taking quick notes - through scribbles on paper. Very useful skill for taking notes, before the invention of cell phones.
From Monday to Friday, we trained new signs. Professor João encouraged us, telling us how stenographers worked. And he told us about how intense the profession was.
One day, he was absent. We learned that his father had passed away.
The next day, he arrived thoughtfully - and gave us a lesson that I have never forgotten. His affection for us and his dedication to teaching were incomparable.
Jeans and a white shirt with rolled-up sleeves, white sneakers. That was his uniform. Gray, well-aligned hair, glasses matching the shape of his face. Standing there, with all my attention focused on a group of young people, I saw dignity in person.
At that moment I realized how much of a difference a teacher can make in someone's life....
Time passed, I had other inspiring experiences and - when I decided to become a teacher - his figure came to mind.
It's been 30 years since that shorthand course. During this time, I met many exemplary professionals in their fields.
One of them, a young man also called João, sent me this message via WhatsApp:
"Friend good night!
I'm sending this message exclusively to thank you for giving me the initial encouragement to become a teacher. I remember well the conversation we had when I arrived on my mission, you were the first ones to visit me!
I thank you and your wife for your encouragement, ear tugging and also for your advice. Your support was fundamental. I always value being grateful for the life I have and even more so after my parents left I try not to complain, I try to be grateful. There are days that are more difficult but I believe that soon I will be better and more adapted.
I apologize if I don't respond right away or talk too much... life has given me intense challenges! Thank you very much for everything you've done for me, send a hug to sister Martha!
This guy is in his twenties. His parents have passed away, and he has just become a father. In the midst of the hurricane of life, he still finds time to thank me.
I see a cycle there. I have also written messages like this, to several teachers who have impacted my life.
No matter how many teachers inspire us to give the best of ourselves in our lives and in our professions.
Thank you very much to everyone who chose this profession, just like me.
No matter how small the influence each of us has, believe me: it is worth a lot to someone.