Regular readers of this post will recall a recent column where I shared some of Barb’s story (you can check it here: http://umakeadiff.blogspot.ca/2013/04/and-we-wonder-why-homework-is-not-done.html) and remarked about the powerful impact teachers have on the lives of their students.
In sharing her story with me, Barb has grown in her confidence and desire to be a change agent in the lives of the students she works with. I remain in awe of the strength she has displayed and the challenges she has overcome to reach a stage in her life where she is a respected educator, passionate Mom, and an advocate for the welfare of kids in crisis. In the midst of all this, she took the time to send me a message.
I just wanted you to know I’ll be presenting at Mikisew School for the Youth Conference. I will be sharing my story with Mikisew students. I am sure that you would want to know that u have motivated me by sharing what would be helpful to others, especially the children. That is why we keep doing what we do; we are the voice of the innocent! Thank you again Tom.
And in that last line, I was left stunned. She wants to thank me? No Barb, thank-you! Thanks for taking a bold step and opening yourself up to kids who may be going through some of the same painful experiences you did. Thank you for letting them see the impact of the choices you made and the capacity that exists to rebound from those choices. Thank-you for showing that vulnerability can occur despite the best of intentions and that a teacher can be the best lifeboat in a sea of turmoil. Mostly, thanks for your willingness to be that teacher to the next group of students.
As we move to the end of another school year and we wonder if we’ll find the reserves to get there, remember the impact you have in and on the lives of the students before you. The change may not happen before your eyes or on the time you have with the student. Plant the seeds of inspiration, remind them of their strengths, nurture them to grow beyond their limitations, and trust that they will come back to the lessons learned.