Sometimes everything comes together and you realize just how unbelievibly powerful what you do is, and why it is needed.
My university that I graduated from lost a big part of it over a year ago. I have blogged about Dr. Stauffer Todd before and here is my tribute post to her.
Yesterday afternoon there was a fundraiser held in her memory to raise funds to establish an endowned scholarship in her name. She hated being the center of attention, but former students, current students, Divison of Music professors donated art, sang, and performed all for her. She would have loved the communtiy of performance.
In the final moments, after singing with my college choir, and crying my eyes out while I sang, because music is just beautiful. My former dean said this, "teaching is a multiplication effect." As soon as I heard the words, my eyes filled with tears and the ugly cry could not be contained.
Driving home I begin to process that statement. Teaching is a multiplication effect. How many lives do I as one person reach? Rather it be directly or indirectly? How do I make sure that I reach all of my students? What happens if I don't reach them all? How do I keep all of the problems that face educators today from hindering my multiplication effect?
Now I'm bad at the math stuff and my friend and fellow edu-blogger @TeachFromHere might call me out on it, so I'm doing my own version of it, so he can deal. I reach and impact students, and in turn they reach and impact those around them. That one spark of influence grows and just keeps growing. We reach and influence our students and they in turn reach and influence their own studnets, co-workers, neighbors and community. Reaching just one kid could hold the potential to reach thousands.
Oh how I love this profession. I cannot even begin to put into words how much I love what I do, but you know what sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it is the most challenging thing in the world. In a world full of those fun little three letter acronyms, you know the ones: HST, TLE, VAM, and the like, I have the best news ever for you, none of those things can hinder your mulitplication effect. Yes these are things that are important, that are needed(okay maybe not all are needed...ahem HST), but loving and knowing your students, reaching them, influencing them, and impacting their lives will reap a far better and greater reward. So my fellow educator that is stressing out over testing, to my fellow choral educator that is stressing out over honor choir auditions, to administrators that are stressing out over an A-F report card, guess what? It will all be okay. Those do not define you as an educator and those things do not define your students. The lives you impact today, will go on to impact other lives, and they will teach the lessons that you taught them to others. Muliplying your circle of influence.
We do not educate data points and stastics on a piece of paper. We educate kids, and these kids have emotions and souls. These kids are full of joy and life, and some of these kids are full of hurt and pain. They need to know that they are more than data points.
Keep going. Keep reaching. Keep doing the hard things. Don't stop. Love kids. Know them. Reach out to them, but remember it's okay if you don't reach and impact them all. Maybe you just weren't the person that they needed at the time. See the good in every kid, and I know sometimes you have to look really hard. Mulitply your circle of influence. Don't worry about the other stuff, just love your job and love your students. You just might be the only one that truly does.