You are a leader. You are a leader of children. You are creating a legacy every day you come to work. You are leaving your mark – an indelible impression upon the kids entrusted to your care. How will your kids remember you?
They may not remember what your educational degree was.
They may not remember how many diplomas hung on your wall.
They may not remember the amazing lesson plans you created.
They may not remember how organized your bulletin boards were.
They may not remember how straight and neat the desk rows were.
They may not remember what their final grade was in your class.
There are plenty of things your kids will remember.
They will remember you listened and you always had time to listen.
They will remember that you expected the best for them and of them.
They will remember that you gave your time to them when you probably had other things to do.
They will remember that you were happy to be at work and seemed to really enjoy being there.
They will remember that you could be silly, you appreciated practical jokes and you never took yourself too seriously.
They will remember you asked them about their family members because you were genuinely interested.
They will remember that you cared enough to talk with them when they weren’t being or acting their best – and challenged them to be and do better.
They will remember that you gave them a second chance when no one else would.
They will remember you always had their back.
They will remember you noticed when they were absent and that you told them, “We missed you.”
They will remember how much you encouraged them and that you were one of their biggest cheerleaders.
They will remember that you treated each one of them like they were important.
They will remember that you always tried to give them the benefit of the doubt.
They will remember when you gave them a “shout out” and how good it made them feel.
They will remember you were always upbeat… even on days when it was hard to be.
They will remember that you didn’t ask them to do anything you weren’t willing to do yourself.
They will remember that you had fun and enjoyed being with them.
They will remember that you noticed when they were having a bad day and took the time to ask, “What’s wrong? Can I help?”
Kids can see through the flashy stuff and while it might impress them initially, it’s the relationships we build with them that will leave a lasting impression. It’s the time we invest. It’s all the little ways we stop and show concern. It’s the love we share with them of learning, of life, and most importantly, of people.
So go back to your students and really take a look. As pressing as it may be, see past the behaviors, the issues and the concerns. Look beyond the stack of papers on your desk, the list of emails in your Inbox and the long “to do” list in your planner. Look. And you will see that it’s there – right inside you. The ability to make an impact. The chance of a lifetime to make a difference in a child’s life. And you can do it. It’s in you. I know it is.
Remember, you are leaving a legacy that surpasses test scores, lesson plans, outcomes, reports, budgets and even bulletin boards. Your kids will remember you for all the little things you did to show you cared about them. You were their leader and you encouraged them, supported them and inspired them. They will remember you because YOU made a difference and you knew THEY made a difference, too!