“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does” – William James
Sometimes we forget what a profound impact we have on students as educators. Every action, even a small one, matters. A smile and a quick hello can mean everything to our students. Too many times they have not been spoken to until they reach our school buildings each day. Noticing when they are in an ‘off’ mood can be the key to engaging them during class. Showing we care and forming those essential relationships are the foundation to learning.
A quick anecdote from my own experiences…
I have students this year that are like families. They work so well together and notice whenever someone is missing. They are sad when class ends each day and remark about how quickly the period goes by. From day one I modeled what it is to be a caring compassionate educator and person. They have completely followed suit and demonstrate these behaviors toward me and one another. They are the kind of classes that you know will run themselves if you have to be absent.
What has made this year so great are not only the relationships I have formed, but also what they have formed with each other. They look forward to spending time together learning and growing. They know when the going gets tough they will be there for one other to offer help. We laugh together, struggle together, and learn together. They make a difference to me and each other every day.
These students let me know all the time that I make a difference and what I want them to understand is the impact they are having on the world. One student in particular told me she didn’t think she would be famous. I told her that she just didn’t know how and to whom she would be famous yet. She has time to figure it out!
If we all follow this quote and act like we are making a difference (no matter how small) – we will change the world for the better each day. My students constantly remind me of this and I am grateful to them.