True Heroes

So this past week I held a leadership assembly for our beautiful Middle School students as part of our Blue Sky Monday initiative. We talked about the power of empathy, a culture of kindness, the role and opportunity of bystanders, and finally, heroic acts. At the end of the assembly, after some great conversations and a few poignant videos, I asked the kids a simple question which solicited some emotional responses that really got me thinking…I asked, “who are the true heroes in your lives?” I asked them to think deeply about this for a minute or two before responding, and I asked them to think about it from a truly personal perspective…heroes that impact their lives in a very real way…not Lionel Messi or Steve Jobs or Oprah Winfrey, but heroes that impact their life throughout their day to day existence. Well, the hands eventually shot up and the answers came hard and fast as they began to talk about the special teachers in their lives…and it made my heart almost burst with love, pride, and happiness.

One student talked about a former third grade teacher who taught her to read when she arrived at the school with next to no English…another student talked about a teacher who spent several mornings before school meeting with him in the gym to work on his basketball skills…and another talked passionately about how a counselor had helped her when she was feeling bullied by a small group of girls a couple of years ago. The sad thing was that even though we ran way over time, we eventually had to end before I could get to the dozens of hands that were eagerly awaiting their chance to share…but I heard them loud and clear, and it confirmed what I already knew…teachers are true heroes in the lives of their students! I left the assembly thinking about how excited and desperate the kids were to share a story about how a teacher or two had impacted their lives in a profound way, and I wondered if we as educators internalize this message enough? Do we really understand and embrace the power and opportunity that we all have to change and shape a life for the better each and every day…through each and every interaction that we have with our kids? Teachers are our world’s greatest and truest heroes, and if you don’t already, it’s time that you all start to see yourselves as such…

I bet every one of you has a similar story about how a teacher in your own life has changed you for the better, or helped you get to where you are today. Someone who took the time to listen, to inspire, to acknowledge, and to believe in you as a learner…someone who saw that spark in you, and who saw the potential that you had to offer the world. Well, that’s who you are for our kids, and it’s as simple as taking the extra time to truly get to know your students, and to dig deep to find their sparks that will eventually set our world on fire in beautiful and inspiring ways! I’m asking you all to wake up every morning from now on  committed to being real life heroes for our students, because that’s what you are whether you’ve internalized it or not. Our world’s true heroes are not actors, or athletes, or the celebrities that garner all the media attention…it’s the world’s teachers who work tirelessly and passionately to love, to save, to inspire, and to educate our young learners who will eventually make our world a better place. It’s teachers who save the day, and provide the hulk-like effort that is needed for our kids to see how special they are for our world…every one of our kids is an unwrapped gift, and it’s the day to day heroic acts of a teacher which help open it up for the world to enjoy. Have a wonderful week everyone, and remember to be heroes for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the week….

Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.
Fred Rogers

 What is a Hero Videos –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zegboN3w1Dw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l48FyAmQNOc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_pGiUeVFEU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2LNK2MW_xQ

 TED ED Website –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfJ5XG5i2aw&list=PLD9F05BD1BE124A13

 Articles and Websites –

http://dailyedventures.com/index.php/2013/03/03/heroes/

http://www.inspiringeducators.net/

http://awakenings2012.blogspot.com/2012/08/teachers-as-heroes.html

http://www.contextsustainability.com/who-are-your-teaching-heroes/

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/celebrating-unsung-heroes-george-lucas

http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/us/cnn-heroes

Great Commercial –

http://www.values.com/inspirational-stories-tv-spots/70-everyday-heroes

About Daniel Kerr

Dan Kerr is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby. 
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