Teacher proud of Jimmie Allen

April 26, 2022

When I recently visited Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., I received a beautiful surprise. Jimmie Allen, a former student, was performing that night and I was able to finally hear him sing in concert. I didn’t realize how deeply his music and his message would affect me, his sixth-grade language arts teacher. Not only did he amaze me with his singing and his warmth, but his message to us was clearly stated: He was from Milton, Del., a small town that gave him the good things he needed to learn, grow and go on to do great things. He radiated love for our little town, his family and all who helped him along the way. He actually said how much he appreciated his teachers! While thousands of music fans cheered him on, my teacher heart swelled with pride.

How rare to hear and see the fruits of my teaching, my lifelong passion and my challenging career. Jimmie Allen appreciated me! Appreciated all of us!

To all teachers who are struggling with the challenges of the day-to-day classroom, I want to share this message: Your work has true, lasting value. Your work will change the world, make children grow into amazing adults, and maybe even spread the love. Jimmie Allen is not the exception, he’s the rule. We usually do not witness this transformation so literally. We don’t get to see a musical legend stand on a national stage and say thank you to his teachers in Milton, Del. Your daily work builds self-esteem and confidence, and allows children to grow into compassionate adults.

Near the end of the concert, Jimmie came down off the stage, singing while doing a lap around the perimeter of the crowd. I reached and touched his hand, knowing full well that I had made a difference, and that teachers everywhere needed to hear that.

Diane Albanese


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