Posts tagged #impact

You Have The Power!

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Poverty stricken homes.
Violent neighborhoods
Teenage pregnancies.
High dropout rates.
A community without hope.

Do any of the above descriptors resonate with you in relation to the students you teach? As educators embark, or in some cases, continue with the first weeks of a new school year, two types of emotions are usually invoked. One is of excitement, while the other is that of indifference.

Excitement because a brand-new school year brings new opportunities for teachers to make a difference in the lives of students. Additionally, for some, there’s the thrill of implementing that new classroom decorating theme found on Pinterest. You know who you are!

However, for others, there’s indifference. A lack of interest and concern. Simply, an “I don’t care” attitude. There are myriad reasons for this feeling, some of which may include; heavy workloads and demands that seem to increase each academic year, lack of parent involvement, and challenging student behavior.

I don’t know where you stand. My guess because you are reading this is that you want what’s best for students, and although you know the school year will have its shares of ups and downs, you are committed to a cause that’s bigger than you. For you, the statement, “It’s about doing what’s best for the kids,” really is genuine.

Recently, I watched a video which highlighted the impact made by Dr. Tiffany Anderson in the Jennings School District. You can watch the 6-minute clip below. I want to emphasize on this statement from Dr. Anderson:

“Zip code should not determine the quality of education.”

Your students may not be raised in safe and loving homes that assert the importance of education, both inside and outside of school. Their reality could be going home to grim and dreary neighborhoods. Therefore, some of them will enter your schools with anxiety, anger, and apathy. You can’t control that.

What you can control is the quality of education that you provide them during the hours of the day that they are with you.

What you can do is exalt their minds and open them up to endless opportunities.

What you can take charge of is raising the expectations you have for them.  

Their social class, parents’ level of education, or race/ethnicity should not determine the level of expectations you have for them.

All students are capable of excelling in life. Some students just need that person who is willing to help them discover their hidden potential and show them the strength that lies within them.

You have the power to make a positive impact. Regardless of trials and challenges that you will face this school year, you can make a difference!

Believing in you,
A.C.

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Teacher Appreciation 2017

We are human turnstiles. People come into and out of our lives virtually every day, but only a select few remain with us for an extended period of time. And only a certain number will truly impact our lives.

As human beings, we can endure the lack of many things. But loneliness, the absence of connections with other people, can be extremely difficult to bear.

See, we were created for relationships. Our interactions with others teach, shape and guide us. We need other people in our lives because no matter how passionate we may be about our own personal goals and aspirations, there will come moments when our enthusiasm begins to dwindle, when we get tired, and when we stop dreaming.

There will be times when it will be absolutely necessary for us to have people encourage us and rekindle the fire within us. These individuals who do so are our true heroes and those we can count on through thick and thin knowing that they stand with us and join in our struggles so we do not have to fight alone.

The irony is that we are not always appreciative of the countless sacrifices and unconditional love that these people bestow upon us. Our forgetfulness is not intentional, but it definitely is good to be reminded that we are appreciated.

Perhaps as a teacher, you are the hero I have described. The one who helps students find peace in troubling times, and bolsters their faith when doubts and insecurities fall upon them. However, you may not always receive any acknowledgment or recognition.

So, today, allow me to express my appreciation to you for:

  • Helping students believe in themselves, when they could not see anything in them worth believing in.

  • Seeing potential and greatness in students, when parts of society see helpless and hopeless individuals.

  • The many acts of kindness that you do for students, not to be recognized, but simply because you deeply care about them.

  • The many hours you spend planning, preparing and coming up with creative ways to reach and teach your students.

  • Simply being there for students when others choose to walk away.

You are making a difference!

Thank you for your impact!

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Making an Impact

I will never forget one of the days I was reminded why I became an educator. I say “one of the days” because I have been fortunate to have had several moments that have brought me back to the reason why I became a teacher in the first place.

If you’ve never worked in a school environment, then you probably do not know how mentally and emotionally draining the job can be. At least that is the case for any teacher who puts their whole heart and soul into working with students.

Many times there are days when frustration rises to high levels because we don’t see the fruit of our labor. We work long hours, spend time thinking of ways to connect with our kids, sometimes even to the neglect our own family and loved ones, and yet we still wonder, “Did I truly make a difference?”

It was a Friday afternoon, two years ago in April, when one of my eighth grade AVID students knocked on my office door. She asked if I had time to talk to her. I was swamped with office referrals (the life of a middle school assistant principal), but I still took a couple of minutes to talk to her.

She didn’t say much. She asked how I was doing, but that was basically to turn the attention away from the real reason she came to see me. She had a card that she had made for me and she gave it to me. I asked her if I could read it and she said, “Yes.”

I read her words and immediately I was moved by them. It was a letter thanking me for being there for her because, little did I or anyone else in the school know, that she was thinking about committing suicide. Her father had abandoned her and that traumatized her. Life with her mother wasn’t any better.  However, she told me that the times that I spoke to her and asked her how she was doing, were times she knew someone cared about her. That alone was reason for her to keep living.

It takes a lot of courage for a teenager to open up to an adult about their personal life. That is why I will never forget that day. Who knew that the two or three minute conversations that I had with her were going to impact her that much? To me, what I was doing was really nothing big. However, to her, it was everything.

I learned something that day. To never discount the difference we can make in someone’s life by simply being there for him or her.  Our smile. Our attention. Our time. Sometimes, that’s all that is needed to make an impact.

Posted on June 6, 2014 and filed under Blogs.