Sunday, August 4, 2013

You are a Difference Maker!

This post is from the archives of my Molehills out of Mountains blog.  It is a brief message written to our staff, last year, in anticipation of our first day of school.  Thought some might find it  useful as the new school year starts-up.
cc flickr photo by Krissy.Venosdale

As we prepare for the arrival of our students, I hope you will take a few quiet moments to put aside lesson plans, forget about administrative tasks, and consider our purpose (as a school, and as individual educators): we must attend to the academic, social and emotional needs of each one of our students.  Our educational system asks a lot of teachers, and unfortunately, in times when we are spread too "thin," it is difficult to maintain our focus on the best interest of kids.  That is why it is so critical that we take time for reflection, deliberately considering how we maintain student centered practices on our campus and in our classrooms.
When our students walk through the front gates on Monday morning, please remember that you are a difference maker!  The small gestures you make to welcome students, and demonstrate an interest in their lives, will have an impact.  There is tremendous power in a smile, a handshake, or an encouraging word.  In the coming year, you will have opportunities to build confidence where it hasn't existed, develop connections that have never been present, and generate hope for students who's academic careers have been marred by hopelessness.  All of these are truly super powers!During yesterday's training, the presenters shared the following quote - a powerful reminder of our ability to make a difference (either positive, or negative).
I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom.  It’s my daily mood that makes the weather.  As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous.  I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.  I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.  In all situations, it is my response that decides whether crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.  ~ Haim Ginot
You should all be proud of the profession you have chosen, the hard work you do on behalf of our students, and the determination with which you address challenges.  In the first few days/weeks of school I challenge you to really get to know your students, share a little about yourself, develop meaningful connections, and make decisions based upon what is best for kids.  Thank you for all you do for our school community...your efforts are noticed, and appreciated!

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