The man on the far left is a master's degree graduate in chemistry. Last summer, he asked for my help in editing a paper for publication. I have certain requirements to edit papers and he didn't really meet any of them! The entire process ended up being quite different because it was only a few days before we left for our summer trip to the States.
We spent a very intense day going over that paper line-by-line. (I usually read the papers ahead of time to get a feel for the content and the English.) There was much I didn't understand due to the chemistry part, but at least I do have a small science background so it wasn't completely unfamiliar. At one point during the editing process, the student stopped and did push-ups in the middle of the room so that he could burn some physical energy! It was hard for him to stay intensely focused in English for such a long period of time
However, we were successful and he submitted the paper to the Journal of Physical Chemistry (an international publication), and it was accepted and published in September 2011. Because of this prestige, he was offered a job with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (fiercely competitive) here in our city (he's from here).
He has sent me a couple of emails since then, but yesterday was the first time I've seen him in quite some time. He spoke words that teachers love to hear:
"Vickie, you changed my life." His job at the Academy means that he meets with international scientists, most often, using English as the common language. He has to use English without leaving his home city . . . something he never thought would be necessary. He said that three years from now he hopes to get his own PhD and that he may have a chance to do so in the United States. He said that my involvement in his life had such an impact on his direction and focus.
Even now, it makes me a bit emotional to recall the conversation. Most teachers *do* want to make an impact in their students' lives, but most never really know if they do so. In this case, I got to hear the words. To me, it seems that my role in this student's life was a rather small one, but it made a big difference to him. It's very humbling to be such a memorable part of someone's life.