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By Thomas F. O'Neill

I was recently inducted in the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars. I like to remind people, however, that when I graduated from Shenandoah Valley High School in Pennsylvania in 1981, I couldn’t construct a grammatically correct sentence or spell words correctly due to severe dyslexia. I also had 69% hearing loss in both ears, which caused me to miss a lot of what was going on in the classroom. I now have 80% hearing loss in both ears, but today’s technology is extraordinary when it comes to boosting my hearing.

Receiving this award was quite an honor and I truly believe that if I could succeed academically - anyone can, all you need is the proper, discipline, motivation and focus. I have also found that my past difficulties not only made me a better teacher but a stronger person and a much better human being.

I will soon be returning to the Suzhou International Foreign Language School in Suzhou, China to teach. My Chinese students have great respect for their teachers, and it's because of that reason I enjoy being in their company. That respect is vital for their overall education, and when you truly care and respect others, you will find that others will truly care and respect you. When a teacher takes the extra time to reach a struggling student, it is perceived in China as an act of kindness. My students just like students from all over the world, put great emphasis on getting into the right colleges and earning the right degrees. Education, after all, does provide us with boundless opportunities, and an educated society enhances the overall well-being of its nation. If a teacher takes the time to positively impact a student's life, they are changing the world one person at a time. That kindness will be remembered long after the lesson plans are forgotten, because it leaves an indelible imprint in one's heart and soul.

I have fond memories of the great teachers that revealed to me that, despite my deficiencies, I have great gifts. Our gifts and talents are further developed when we share them with others.

A teacher's kindness cannot be bought, sold or acquired academically; it can only be freely given from one heart to the other - and that can be their greatest legacy. Teachers are not only teaching; they are being taught by the lessons of life. The greatest teachers throughout history were also the greatest students when it came to those life's lessons.

    Always with love from Lock Haven University
    Thomas F O’Neill
    Phone: (410) 925-9334
    WeChat - Thomas_F_ONeill
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Facebook: https:/

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