Laurice just finished preparing dinner for her family until she received a phone call from her best friend, who informed her that their teacher, Hannah Sibulan, is battling a serious illness. She was surprised to hear the news. She asked her friend for the details and took note of the visitation schedule.

The next day, she went to the hospital where her teacher was confined. She found the room, knocked on the door and opened it. She saw her teacher’s husband, Donald, watching over her while she was asleep.

“You must be one of her former students.”, said Donald.
“Yes, sir. And I would like to pay her a visit.”, said Laurice.
“It’s okay, dear. Come in.”, said Donald with a smile.
She smiled back as she entered the room and closed the door.

“You must be Laurice, right?”, asked Donald.
“Yes, sir.”, said Laurice as she was on her way to sit beside Donald.
“Hannah told me so much about you. You were one of her unforgettable students in her teaching career.”, said Donald.
“She always inspires me to be at my best. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t become the professional I’ve become now.”, said Laurice.
“That’s nice to hear that. Can you tell me how she was able to do that in you?”, asked Donald.
“Yes, sir”, answered Laurice.

“Miss Hannah was a pretty and nice teacher. I like the way she teaches. She teaches with bliss and excitement so that we could easily learn her lessons. Because of that, I dreamed of becoming like her one day. So after school, I would play in my room pretending to be a teacher and having my stuffed toys as my students. I would write on the wall with my crayons and use the meterstick to discuss to them.”
Donald smiled as he heard what Laurice said.

“But she was a strict disciplinarian. She wants all of us to follow her instructions properly or we would be reprimanded. So I did to prevent myself from being punished. I remember the time when she scolded me for a mistake I did. She would scream at me and say hurtful things at me. ”
“When recess came, I went to the restroom, released my anger in front of a mirror, and cried. I was hurt for what she did because I admired her a lot. After that, I wiped my tears and prepared myself to go out until I saw Miss Hannah. I was afraid of what she would say. But she spoke to me gently. She explained her actions to me and that’s where I understood. She hugged me and went to her next class. I went back to the classroom for my next class.”
“That’s how she is, dear. She has a tough love to the people she loves the most. She does that to our kids and our grandkids. She loves her students as if they were her own.”, said Donald.
“Yes, sir.”, said Laurice as she nodded and smiled. Then, she continued.

“Apart from being my teacher, she was one of my life coaches. She helped me at those times when life gave me lemons. As a result, I gave it lemonade and my performance in school improved.”
“She’ll do everything to see her students win in life.”, said Donald.
“I agree, sir.”, said Laurice, “I remember the time I was preparing for college. Miss Hannah asked me of my future profession. I told her of my teaching dream and how she became my model for the profession. She was more than happy to know it and encouraged me along the way.”
“I then told her of my problem. My parents didn’t approve of it. They wanted me to be on a corporate position so that I could take my dad’s place when he retires. I told her how much I objected their plans but she told me to listen to them since one day I’ll be helping my family.”

“She told me that I didn’t need to be a teacher to inspire others. I could be anyone to inspire others as long as I have a tough heart. For her, a tough heart is having a heart for others. You exceptionally give your best in what you do, and you do them with love and passion so that they can do the same. It’s one of the little ways you can make a difference to them.”
“I cried with what she said because I was inspired by her. I knew what made her the teacher I look up to. Our talk ended when she encouraged me to follow my dream when I had the chance.”

There was a minute of silence, then Laurice continued.
“I thought about what she said as I went home. I wanted to cry deep inside because I wouldn’t fulfill my lifelong dream. But that instilled me to never give up on it. So I finished college and worked with my dad. To my surprise, I was given opportunities to mentor our employees. So I did, and I never imagined what happened next. The company was gaining great revenue and I would get comments from them thanking me for playing a part in their career path.”

“Looking back, I can say now that I have the tough heart Miss Hannah taught me. Every teaching moment gives me a sense of fulfillment, and I can see myself making a difference to others in my own little way. Right now, I get to teach pre-school kids every Sunday.”
“That’s great to hear.”, said Donald.
“I made a pact to myself that I’m going to take every teaching opportunity that comes my way. I’m just getting started, and I’ll continue until my last breath.”
“Keep moving forward, Laurice. And I’m sure Hannah’s proud of you for what you’ve become.”, Donald said as he gave Laurice a warm hug as he could see how her life was impacted by his wife.

Donald saw his wife awake from her sleep. He told Laurice and they went to her bedside. Hannah gave her warm smile to Donald. But she gave her very warmest smile to Laurice in spite of the sickness she’s battling. Laurice smiled back at her role model teacher. The three then had a warm heart talk.