There is no greater purpose than to make life better for someone else. Time spent in service to others is time well spent. In education we are blessed with the opportunity to do this every day. It is the greatest job in the world!
I had one of those moments recently that all educators have. I saw a former student and was reminded of the impact that we have on the young people in our care. In a brief encounter, she hugged me no less than five times. Our connection is deep. Middle school was not an easy time in her life. She struggled with behavior; she wrestled with friendship issues; and she lost a parent. We spent countless hours together in my office working through issues.
We all have those stories. It’s a natural consequence of our profession. But we could all have more of those stories if we were more intentional about our interactions with each other.
Life can be hard. Growing up is not easy. The day to day work of making friends, doing schoolwork, finding a seat in the cafeteria or on the bus, it’s hard. Then throw in making or not making the team or the cast or the choir. And some of our students are dealing with so much more, issues that no one should have to experience, poverty, illness, death.
But we have the daily opportunity to help make life better for them. What makes the difference? A person makes the difference. You make the difference.
As a teacher, get to know the children in your class.
As an administrator, get to know them too.
I truly believe that while all of our students are unique, they also all share a few similar needs.
Everyone wants to be known, to be seen and appreciated for who they really are.
I call it sparkle. Our students each have a sparkle. You can see it in their eyes when they talk about their passion. You can see it in their work when they are doing what they love most. Do you see it when they sparkle?
And they want to be encouraged. Something as simple as a hug or a high five can make the difference in someone’s day.
As we start another week, look for opportunities to find the sparkle in your students. Know them. Encourage them. Care about them. You could be the hope they need to make their day, their life, a little better.