Topic of the week is to write about a time when we have been contacted by a former student, and reflect on the impact we make on people’s lives.
I have former students who are now in their 50’s, and have been honored as many of them have contacted me through the years to share what they learned in my classes that had nothing to do with band or orchestra. And many of those conversations happened before the Age of Social Media. I won’t go into those here, my stories are no different than anyone else’s stories, and too often we take for granted the impact we make on our students and colleagues.
As a staff developer for many years, I would make this point when we shared the Art and Science of Teaching in our conversation about the Best Teacher You Ever Had. I have written about it here.
So now the Essential Question. What do you want your students to remember about you after they have forgotten everything that you have taught them?
After all is said and done, teaching is about service. As a teacher, it is all about you. It isn’t about the content, the lesson plan, the activities, the classroom decorations. It’s about YOU!
The sacrifices we all make, the nights spent grading papers, planning and creating activities, attending evening programs, even if we only stay long enough to be seen by the kids, tossing and turning at 2am worrying about a student, time missed with spouses and children, it’s all about service.
Who served us? How? And how are we paying it forward?
There is a framed document hanging by my desk, in my line of sight as I visit with students and parents.
“Today I placed several people in front of you…Did you inspire, teach, motivate, hug, share a smile, share a warm thought, buy their lunch, show them your love, show compassion or put yourself in their position? Or…did you just turn away and shrink back into yourself? Not quite what I had in mind…But I know you’ll get better at it. I’m sending some more your way tomorrow. God”
And so it goes…