Pay It Forward

So just over a week ago I decided to track down a old teacher of mine……I wanted to tell her that the incredibly positive influence that she had on me way back in High School is still resonating deeply in my life twenty five years later, and that who she is as a person and educator continues to inspire me greatly to this day. After I wrote that note, I started thinking about all the teachers that I’ve had in my life who have changed me in some way for the better…..or helped shape the person and educator that I am today. I thought about my grade school teachers, my university professors, and all the colleagues that I’ve had over the past 15 years in education, and I came up with a short list of people who have literally been searchlight souls throughout my career……and I wrote to them….. and I thanked them from the bottom of my heart.

As it turns out, every single one of them wrote back and said that my simple little email, which took me less than two minutes to write, had not only made their day but in some cases made their entire career! It struck me that the incredible and life changing work that great teachers do every day is often unrecognized and underappreciated….we all know this of course, and we certainly aren’t in this game for all the glamour and adulation but here’s the thing……when was the last time that you, the underappreciated educator, actually wrote to a teacher in your own life who has changed and inspired you in some simple way? Or some profound way? I bet if you took fifteen minutes at some point this week to think about all the educators that have passed through your life throughout your career you’d come up with a few who deserve a sincere thank you…so what’s stopping you?

Coincidentally, just this past week I had a former student of mine (who I taught years ago in third grade) pass through Shanghai and go out of her way to look me up…..I was thrilled, humbled, and I couldn’t shake the smile off my face all day! We’re in this profession to make a difference in the lives of our students, so when one actually validates the efforts that you’ve made there is no better feeling in the world in my opinion. I bet every one of you has had that feeling at some point, and if you’re like me you can last on that special moment for at least a month. Good teachers are true heroes in my mind….they wield such incredible influence and power in a child’s life and most of the time they do it unceremoniously. Well, for this week anyway let’s pay it forward……

I’m asking you all this week to send out one or two quick little emails and to make someone’s day (or career)……a teacher in your life who deserves to hear from you….you never know, you might just receive an email yourself! I’ve attached a few great links and articles below, which speak to the importance of saying thank you, and to the undeniable difference that good teachers make in the the lives of their students. The John Hattie attachment is particularly good and I implore you all to read it right away. Oh yeah, our own teacher appreciation week is coming up quick on March 4th through to the 8th. Make sure that you take advantage of all that our PAFA has planned, and let’s make sure to celebrate each other. Have a wonderful week everyone, and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the Week……..
A teacher affects eternity; you can never tell where the influence stops.
– Henry Adams

Online Articles –

Attachment #1 – Teachers Make a Difference, by John Hattie (This is ridiculously good…I love John Hattie’s work) hattie_teachersmakeadifference
Attachment #2 – Top Five Regrets of the Dying (Thanks to Kassi Cowles for this) Top five regrets of the dying Life and style

Pay it forward Website-