Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Carrie Will Show Him His Influence By Influencing Him

I just got a wonderful message from Carrie who I never got to teach but had in Young Life during her middle school years. She is doing her student teaching this year. Her words honor me that my heart for students impacted her. What crushes my heart is the reality of her words that some teachers can't find the truth of their opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their students.

"Had to write about an inspiring teacher today and thought of you. Just thought I'd send you a quick message to let you know you're awesome and you change lives everyday!"

"I'm doing my student teaching right now and the mentor whose room I'm in is so jaded and negative. He makes fun of me for advocating for small changes for my kids, telling me it's pointless and that I'm naive to think I can really make a difference, or that since we have 204 kids it's impossible to care. At first, I was mad at him for being so pessimistic, but I think it's really not his fault. Maybe no one made him feel like he was important or he had the power to make a difference. It's mad me see the importance of thanking those who have made an impact and letting them know what a difference caring about your students can make. So please pass it on!"

Our conversation continued about how much she can influence him this semester and ultimately improve the situation for his students. If she 'acts as if' he is making a difference and catches him being positive he may move, even a tiny bit, toward being the teacher he can be.

It breaks my heart for this man and for the students who pass through his class. His days at school must be grueling rather than rewarding. The truth is teachers have this incredible opportunity to touch lives each and everyday.

1 Corinthians 16:14  Do everything in love.

Kids touch my life everyday. Like Carrie the students who I touch are connected for life. They are the pearls of teaching. Each one has made a difference in who I am with their courage as they walk through their own stories and share them with me.

204 students is a lot and of course you can't build deep and meaningful relationships with each one. What you can do is encourage all and pick out the dozen that you need to go deeper with and do it. It can be as simple as noticing the books they like to read or the team's jersey they are wearing. Just a connection to make a student feel that they are valued, connected. Some go through their days, weeks alone feeling invisible. No one should feel invisible.  Everyone matters.

Carrie had a rough road and walked it with grace. She was courageous and beautiful as a middle schooler and will be such a gift to her future students. Her heart gives me hope that even this teacher will be different by the time she finishes student teaching with him. I applaud his change of heart for his future students believing Carrie will open his eyes.

In Him,

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