If you're a teacher, you have taught (or will teach) thousands of kids. You are a professional... and you are creating a legacy every day you come to work. You are leaving your mark -- an indelible impression upon the children entrusted to your care. What will they remember about you... I wonder.
They may not remember your tier two interventions.
They may not remember your authentic assessments.
They may not remember your brilliantly scaffolded lessons.
They may not remember your innovative rubrics.
They may not remember your curriculum map.
They may not remember how cute your bulletin boards were.
They may not remember their benchmark scores.
They may not remember that you always had your objectives written on the board.
They may not remember your bell ringers or your exit slips.
They may not remember how many degrees you had or that you were "highly qualified."
These are all good things, and teachers are more effective when their professional practice reflects the qualities and behaviors on this list. The fact that your students may not remember these things could discourage you. Don't let it.
There are plenty of things that your student will remember.
They will remember that time you played dodge ball with them in PE.
They will remember the fist bumps every time they walked into your class.
They will remember the funny stories you told about your vacation.
They will remember those times you never gave up on them.
They will remember how kind you were.
They will remember that you had real conversations with kids in the hallway.
They will remember that time you intervened with the kids being mean in the lunchroom.
They will remember that you always had a smile.
They will remember that time you made a bad decision... but you apologized to the entire class.
They will remember that time they forgot their lunch, but you made sure they ate.
They will remember you coming to their games and concerts.
They will remember that you always seemed to be excited about teaching.
They will remember that you didn't mind being silly.
They will remember the time you called them at home when they were sick.
They will remember that you seemed to genuinely enjoy being around kids.
They will remember that you were patient... even with those who didn't deserve it.
They will remember that there were days that you made school bearable for them.
They will remember that you encouraged their dream.
Continue to engage in all those activities and strategies that characterize professional educators. The conscientious practice of your craft will elevate the academic achievement of your students and contribute to their brighter future. But remember that you are leaving a legacy that transcends grades and test scores. Your impact on kids will be felt in the little moments -- the handshakes, the high fives, the hugs, and the quiet conversations. Don't forfeit any of those moments; your kids will remember them.
So your students will remember you... and they will smile -- because you were their teacher, and YOU made a difference!