It's a day of looking forward as the new school year starts tomorrow but for me, today was also a day of looking back. I woke up this morning and saw the obituary for a young man named Clark that I taught when I did my student teaching. He was a senior taking Economics and I was a brand new pre-service teacher with big ideas on how to make a difference. There aren't a lot of names I still remember from 13 years ago but he stands out still.
The 2015-2016 begins. There will be students walking in your door that need to be loved, heard, gently admonished, challenged, prayed for, side-hugged, encouraged, and respected. Some of our students don't get those things at home. Some of our students, like Clark, can teach us a thing or two about caring for others. As educators, we have a responsibility (and often power) to change the course of a kid's life for the good forever. We can't take that lightly.
As I go into this school year my prayer is that I would be a difference maker, that the students I teach, the teachers I support, and the families I serve would know my heart's goal is to be a positive influence in the lives I touch. Sadly, we can be difference makers negatively as well. My goal for this year is to get "ME" out of the equation and to focus on the tasks, needs, and people before me. My goal is that I would teach, lead, react, and listen with an open mind and discerning heart. It's asking a lot of myself sometimes because my nature is to feel threatened, hurt, or protective of the things I do professionally when challenged. This year I will strive to be a positive difference maker. Will you?