Reflective Teacher Day 6

Day 6: Share a quote or verse that has inspired you and tell us why.

This is a hard one for me. I’m not really a “quote-y” person. I don’t have a “quotes” board on my Pinterest, and the only “quotes” posted around my classroom are posters that I inherited from other teachers. My students’ favorite is a kitten saying “Detesto los verbos irregulares” I hate irregular verbs. Along the same lines, I’m not a “verse” person either. Some people have a particular Bible verse that they turn to when they’re discouraged or upset or sad or whatever, but I really don’t have anything like that, either. I guess I prefer to take my Bible in whole stories, rather than individual verses. So as I sit here trying to even come up with a quote that I know, whether it inspires me or not, I keep coming back to one of those classroom posters.

I tutor after school at our district’s middle school. Most of my evenings are spent in one particular teacher’s classroom, and beside her door, she has a poster that says, “The future depends on what we do in the present.” I assume that’s probably there to send a subtle message to the kids that, even in middle school, their habits and their actions are setting up their futures. I walk past the poster every day and usually don’t notice it.

But last night or the night before, I don’t remember which, after all the kids had gone, I went back into that room to get my stuff and I just happened to notice the poster. I thought “You know, this poster is good for teachers, too. What I do now sets the stage for my students’ futures. And my students are the future. So really, what we as teachers choose to do every day really has a big impact.” And then I went home and didn’t think about it again until just now.

I’m sure for lots of people, that’s a really obvious statement, and now that I’ve put it into words, it seems kind of silly in its simplicity, but it’s really, frighteningly true. The abilities and habits that I help grow in my students now will affect the rest of their lives. They may grow up to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, or waitresses, or cashiers or any number of other things, but regardless, they’re going to have an impact on the world in some way, big or small. I try hard to make a positive difference in my students’ lives, but I’ve never really stopped to think about how much of a difference I may make in the world.

As teachers, we’re in the unique position of having influence over hundreds of people during the most formative times of their lives. That is a huge opportunity, but it’s also a huge responsibility.

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