True story last Christmas:
When I stopped, that young woman thanked me for being such a wonderful teacher to her and told me that because I always expected the most from her (she read at a grade 9 level and I made her continue to do so in my classroom) all through her education she expected and demanded that the teachers who taught her challenged her and taught new things. I differentiated in the classroom wit all my students. Today that woman has a Masters in Business Administration now and works for a major company in Toronto. She flew in to visit her mom for Christmas as well. It was only by chance that we flew in at the same time and she saw me picking up my luggage at the Winnipeg Airport.
There are days when you're so tired you can't think straight, and days that you give you're all and yet you see no results. But there are precious days like the one I described above that make me realize you don't always see the effect you have on children, and sometimes you do affect their lives forever.
When I went back to my mother with my suitcase after talking to my former student, I look her in face and said with great pride "That young woman was MY student in Grade 3. Look at her now. I had a hand in that." My mother smiled with pride at me.