Stop right now and think about your favorite teacher.
Who came to your mind? Why? Was it because you remember all the wonderful things you learned in his or her class? Or was it because he or she made learning meaningful and relevant to you? Possibly it was because the teacher touched your soul and encouraged you to set goals and begin to dream of things you never before thought possible. Very likely that teacher you are thinking about is one of the main reasons you are a teacher today.
On the first day of school many of you will have an Amanda who comes to class wearing a pretty, new dress. Her shiny hair will be combed and put up with ribbons. She will have a new backpack for school filled with supples. She is bright, smiling, and ready to please. Her mom and dad are proud of her and tell her what wonderful things she is going to accomplish.
But you may also have Kameron, wearing faded jeans and a worn tee shirt. His mother was able to find some shoes that fit him at the Resource Center, the first new item to wear that he has had in nearly a year. He doesn’t have school supples, so you have to find some for him. When his father is around, he tells Kameron how stupid he is and how he will never amount to anything special.
You can meet the challenges you face in your classroom because you are a teacher; you know how to reach the Amandas, the Kamerons, and all the students in between. You are a special person in their lives, just as a teacher was special to you. You can reach deep inside children and find something they didn’t know existed. You show faith in their abilities and in their potential, even when they sometimes do not believe in themselves.
Your influence is engraved in them forever, because
you are a teacher!