When I was in third grade, I had a teacher, Mrs. Edwards, who loved pigs. She also loved us. Every one of us. We all thought we were her favorite. No lie. She also did an incredible job with read alouds. I loved sitting on the brown carpet in the back of her room, surrounded by books, listening to her do “the voices.” I also remember that she would intentionally group our desks for learning. I always had a friend at my table. Mrs. Edwards was not thinking, “Where can I put these children, so they don’t talk?” Rather, “Where can I put these children, so that when it’s time to share, they feel safe.”
I’m 39 years old now, and I can still picture her. Her classroom. The kids in my class. Little moments from our time together. I still remember.
In fact, I remember a lot about school growing up. And it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. But I remember.
Because THAT is the impact of a teacher. As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will always remember how you made them feel.” So, while the details are fuzzy about some of my teachers, I always remember how I felt in their classes.
Think about this. Every educator, everywhere, has been impacted by many, many teachers. And all of the small and big moments those teachers created have shaped today’s teachers into who they are today. Now, today’s teachers go on to impact the lives of so many. That’s a legacy. And this extends beyond the teaching profession. So many professionals have been impacted by teachers and administrators.
That kind of legacy gives me chills. The hair is standing up on my arms as I think about it.
And yet, our teachers and administrators are tired. They often don’t feel appreciated. They often feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. This profession is exhausting and overwhelming. We make so many decisions in a day and care for so many people that often we can’t see the impact we are making.
So, if you have been impacted by a teacher, reach out to them today. Find them. Send a note. Make a call. Write that email. That one note or email might just be the fuel that an educator needs to keep the light on and try again tomorrow.
It is my distinct honor to be a collaborator on a book that is intended to do just that. To help educators not only keep the light on but shine brightly, so we can attract other smart, talented, passionate, and caring human beings to this beautiful profession. There is a national shortage of teachers and administrators. We must shine brightly, so they can find their way into our schools. So, they can see that this work can be both fun and meaningful. Every time we speak about our work and post about our work, this is our charge. This is our responsibility. This is how we shape the future.
#BecauseofaTeacher by George Couros and team launches today. It’s filled with stories about educators who have shaped teachers, leaders who have inspired leaders, and lessons learned from mistakes in our early days.
This work is legacy work. And it’s built one day at a time, one small move at a time. As Peter Block has said, “How do you change the world? One room at a time. Which room? The one you’re in.”
Let’s rock it this school year with small moves and big heart.