Early in the week I got a mass email from a friend of mine who lives in Virginia. Her daughter is about to start her first year of teaching and she’s concerned that, while she’s passionate about teaching now, she will become one of the statistics of those young teachers who leave the profession in her first five years. While there are differing opinions about the validity of this statistic, the fact is that my friend wants her daughter to love what she does and she hopes that she will stay in the classroom for years to come.
In her email, she asked for advice or words of wisdom that she could pass on to her daughter about why teachers teach and what kinds of things keep veteran teachers going from year to year. As I thought about what my response might be, I thought back to my influences for becoming a teacher and realized that there was one thing that they all had in common. They inspired me.
Inspiration is a funny thing in that each person is inspired by different things and those things touch each person a little differently. I don’t know if my teachers meant to inspire me, but my senior English teacher inspired me to write. My soccer coach inspired me to keep running throughout the game. My choir teacher inspired me to embrace music as an outlet for my creativity. Were they intentional about inspiring me or was it inherent in their position that they were going to inspire all the students that they touch. That I will have to consider for a while longer. However, their presence in my life and their influence on me has had a dramatic effect on the choices that I’ve made.
So, how will you inspire your students and what will you inspire them to do? The first day that they walked into your classroom, were they inspired to learn? Are there ways that we can be intentional in our inspiration so that we might reach more students? Consider these questions as your students come into your classroom next week and consider who might have inspired Adora Svitak to write her first book at age 7. (See her TED talk)
Whether intentional or not, you will inspire students in ways that you never imagined. Who will you inspire today?
Cross posted to Northeast Middle Friday Flyer