We all know that students and teachers matter, but some times we don’t always feel like we do. Long hours, different environments and more; affect how teachers view their teachings style and if we truly are making a difference. Many of us keep Smile Files, folders either paper or digital that we can turn to when we wonder if we are making a difference with our students or even with our peers. However, we still wonder if we make an impact with others and aren’t just being “there”. As many of you know, this past September after over three years, I lost my job due to budget cuts. I fortunately found my new position a few weeks later and I just now feel I have gotten my feet set since switching in such a short time. Yet, a part of me worried about my former students and teachers since I left in such a hurry and under such distress times.
Yesterday, due to the cold weather, school was cancelled for the day if the school had bus services, but a few schools were still in session. I did not find out until after I had made my 40 minute commute, so I decided to head over to my former school to see how everyone was doing. As many were surprised to see me, I had several students running up to me, hugging me, crying because they were so happy to see me. I even walked into a few classrooms and the students started clapping when they saw me. So many of my students and former co-workers will telling me what they had been doing on iPads and Google Classroom since I left because I taught and inspired them. I even had one of my seniors who was just accepted to college telling me they wanted to be a technology teacher like me. It almost made me cry myself.
It’s moments like these that prove that I made a difference in their lives and continue to do so even after I had left. It reminds me of the saying by Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, People will forget what what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I said back in November, the next year was going to be a true challenge for me as I began the final year of my doctorate program, my work in Build like a Pirate and of course getting my new state certification. In the last couple of weeks, I did ponder if I was going to meet these goals or if I had truly been making a difference with students or teachers outside a few who told me. Yesterday, I saw the main reason why I entered this field, and why I plan to complete my PhD. in the Spring of 2017. I had not only made a difference, but have so many more students and teachers presently and in the future that I will have an impact on.
Sometimes it takes a letter or a passing comment to remind us of what we do matters, but sometimes it is seeing it first hand that makes an impact on us and both inspires and motivates us to not only to continue on, but trying to do better to make that difference too. Because you know you made a difference.