Friday, July 20, 2012

You Are a Difference Maker!

What's your superpower?
cc flickr photo by Krissy.Venosdale
As we prepare for the arrival of our students, I hope you will take a few quiet moments to put aside lesson plans, forget about administrative tasks, and consider our purpose (as a school, and as individual educators): we must attend to the academic, social and emotional needs of each one of our students.  Our educational system asks a lot of teachers, and unfortunately, in times when we are spread too "thin," it is difficult to maintain our focus on the best interest of kids.  That is why it is so critical that we take time for reflection, deliberately considering how we maintain student centered practices on our campus and in our classrooms.

When our students walk through the front gates on Monday morning, please remember that you are a difference maker!  The small gestures you make to welcome students, and demonstrate an interest in their lives, will have an impact.  There is tremendous power in a smile, a handshake, or an encouraging word.  In the coming year, you will have opportunities to build confidence where it hasn't existed, develop connections that have never been present, and generate hope for students who's academic careers have been marred by hopelessness.  All of these are truly super powers!

During yesterday's training, the presenters shared the following quote - a powerful reminder of our ability to make a difference (either positive, or negative).
I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom.  It’s my daily mood that makes the weather.  As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous.  I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.  I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.  In all situations, it is my response that decides whether crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.  ~ Haim Ginot
You should all be proud of the profession you have chosen, the hard work you do on behalf of our students, and the determination with which you address challenges.  In the first few days/weeks of school I challenge you to really get to know your students, share a little about yourself, develop meaningful connections, and make decisions based upon what is best for kids.

Thank you for all you do for our school community...your efforts are noticed, and appreciated!

by J. Delp


  1. Spot on man. Glad to know building relationshipa with students is priority one out west. Have a great start! From KY

  2. Pow! Awesome post Jeff. I'm fired up and ready for the students now as well.
    Have a great weekend and first day!

  3. Wow, what a motivating post. Yes, being a teacher has great responsibility but with that lie opportunities to make a huge difference. I can not think of a more challenging but rewarding profession and I embrace it wholeheartedly!

    Have a great start to your school year!

  4. Great way for a leader to actually lead with purpose!

  5. Last week was certainly a struggle for many CUSD teachers. We are in the process of implementing two new systems and will probably add a third (Microsoft365) shortly. Being a teacher for 15 years - I get my pen this year! - I can only imagine what this past week was like for teachers new to the profession, new to the district, or new to a program. But after all these years I've learned to take all those meetings with the proverbial salt and to maintain at least half of my focus on kids. Sure I miss the occasional detail or new policy or instruction on how to take attendance, but all of those things will come. And if I have to ask my admin or principal for a refresher, so be it. What I can't get a redo on is the first day of school. The impression I make when my 23 students walk through the door will ultimately set the tone for the next 180 days. I can't worry about where I put the 10-day attendance sheet or that email describing the new lunch procedures. I have to maintain focus on my primary role as an educator: kids!

  6. Love this post and that you shared it not only with your school, but with ALL of us!