by Laura Diamond - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

I bumped into a veteran teacher I know and she told me this is one of her favorite times of the year because former students usually invite her to their graduation ceremonies.

We all have teachers we remember, who changed our lives in ways they may not know. For me, it was Mr. Dechen, my fifth-grade teacher.

He was the only male teacher in the school and every day he carried his lunch in an orange Tupperware container. I was so excited to be in his class but then I couldn’t stand him. He put me in a math group with a couple of boys. I didn’t want to be with a bunch of boys, so I purposely failed and didn’t do my homework.

One day he pulled me aside and said no matter what I did, I wasn’t leaving that group. He said if I wanted to get any where in life I’d have to get used to sometimes being in places where I wasn’t comfortable. He taught me an important life lesson.Read other stories from the blog.