By Gail Davvis-Carter (ListenGive Writer)
It was incredible to meet Malala Yousafzai at the United Nations as she was designated Messenger of Peace by Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. Yet a young 12 year old student, whom we will call C. Diallo, and his friend were the true inspiration for the day.
As we listened to Malala reply to all the students who were in attendance at the Messenger of Peace conference, C. Diallo was authentically interested in her thoughts on education and youth actions toward peace. After the ceremony, C. Diallo, and his friend walked with me to inquire whether Malala would provide him with an autograph signature of her book. C. Diallo was on a mission for his book to be signed. Of course, I thought this was for his personal library at home. Upon thinking it was only for him and how sincere he was in his respect and admiration for her, I said to him, we will find her and have your book signed. He was saddened because the event was over and he really thought she had left the building. I shared with him, when you set an intention, you must have faith in what you want to happen. So he smiled and we continued to walk. Just then, a friend of his mother who is a UN staff member, joined us on the walking adventure to find Malala. Just when we thought hope was gone, Malala turned the corner. The smile on his face and his friend was priceless. He was still too shy to ask her. So I asked if she would be so kind as to sign his book. As she asked him, what name he would like her to write in the book, he uttered a woman’s name. It turned out that his quest to find Malala and have her sign this book was for his teacher who would be retiring at the end of the school year.
When you meet students who have a commitment to give back to the teachers whom have taught them, you realize the importance of teachers who give their hearts to the students everyday. We also have to give thanks to his parents who have instilled values in him, where he would be able to identify the value his teacher is providing for him and understand how it will impact his life as he grows into a young man.
This is proof that while technology is paving the way for students to learn at a greater pace, it will never replace the human connection between student and teacher. Additionally, it shows the importance of teacher to parent partnership with every student. Let’s remember to honor our teachers and provide them with the necessary tools to support each child. When students are encouraged by their teachers, they reach their fullest potential.