Wednesday, July 16, 2014

They Will Remember How You Made Them Feel

Today's Big Time Literacy Blog Challenge (#BTBC14) is supposed to be to tell a story about a memorable student.

I was a fourth grade classroom teacher for seven years. During that time I had approximately 190 students, plus all the students that came to me for science, reading and math when we had a departmental model. I can't say that I remember each and every one of them without looking at a class composite. They all gave me something. I never met a kid I didn't like (I never understand when teachers say they hate a kid - I've been very frustrated by my students, but I don't think I ever said I hated any of them). I hope I gave them something too. I am very lucky to teach in a district that hires many of its alumni and community members. I currently work with six former students. Two of them are currently in administrative roles. Not all of them are teachers. Two of them are in our custodial and maintenance department. I see most of them on a regular basis. Most of the time when I look at them I see the student that they were, but I am so proud of the adult they have become. I know it is not all because of me. They had great parents and came from great families with a strong support system in place. As a young teacher I always envied the my colleagues who had students come back to visit them. Usually that was from an exiting grade, either fifth or eighth grades in our district. I am so happy that I see some of my former students on a regular basis and they keep me updated on some of the others that they still talk to on a regular basis. I am honored to call them colleagues! When we have site visits I am always quick to point out to our visitors my former students and those staff members that are D100 alumni.

One of the proudest moments of my career was being recognized at our January Institute day by one of my former students +Bill Jacklin , who is now a PE teacher in our district. He gave a speech in front of the whole district about how +Jane Monaco and I impacted his life. He told a funny story about when he was a student. At the 8:30 mark in this video Bill starts his speech. You can see in the video that I am wiping away tears. I was so touched to be honored by Bill. +Zach Pros , the boy the man, on the far right in the picture above is also a former student. We were presented with flowers and a plaque.

I have this plaque hanging in my office to remind me that every day I have an impact on the lives of the children of South Berwyn, and that I should make all my interactions positive ones. Your students may not remember what you taught them, but they will remember how you made them feel. 

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