Inspiration From an Unlikely Source

It was my 46th birthday in March. With that specific number came a mix of emotions and thoughts, not many of them particularly good. I am now officially closer to 50 than to 40, which was sort of hard to swallow for me. Later on in the day, I received an email from a parent. As a teacher, parent emails can put you over the edge in many ways. This one was very different. It was by far the nicest, most inspiring email I have ever received as an educator. In short, it validated everything I have ever done as an educator. The email included the quote below from Maya Angelou which sums up the essence of the message.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This quote resonated with me in so many ways as an educator and as a person. It was obviously nice to hear that I had made someone FEEL good about their experiences with me as a teacher and that those experiences impacted someone positively. However, it made me look more introspectively about my practices as an educator.

Here is what I have learned…

  • Students are more likely to connect with teachers when teachers make it a priority to connect with them.
  • When students are comfortable with their teachers they are more willing to take risks with their learning.
  • Students need to know that teachers care about them as individuals and not just about the content they learn.

I know I could go on.

What would you add to this list? What or whom has inspired you?