I have to start this post off by giving credit where credit is due. I was reading Kids Deserve It, by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome, particularly chapters 18 and 19, which will form the foundation for this post. I couldn’t help but consider the potential for change on the largest possible scale, if everyone everywhere truly understood and embraced the need to let every thought and consequent deed be one that brings effect to someone else.
I made a decision when I started this teaching journey, perhaps the decision that made me decide to teach, it was intentional. It was deliberate. It was on purpose. The purpose was to impact. In my mind, if I could not impact, then there was no point of following this path. Ten years later here I am. “They” may not know my name, I may not have a huge stage, I may not be rolling in the nest egg, I may not be living the high life, but one thing is for certain, I have succeeded in driving the impact train for my students, past and present. I don’t say that pridefully, but I do say so intentionally, because I realize the fire it can start when you are set to impact before you even begin. What’s more is, the kids know and the parents know it, and honestly, it will be hard for other educators and administrators not to notice it. Even further, you won’t have to say anything. It will be that classroom that speaks for itself. The pride students have in their work. The products they complete. The persistence they demonstrate. The purpose they feel. The process they go through where they learn perpetually. My goal on a daily basis is to have #impact on the brain. #Impact or bust.
#Impact to me means that Intentional Motivation to Perpetuate, Act, Cultivate and Transform. Sure, one can impact without having the intention to do so. Imagine how much more that impact can happen when one is deliberate in his or her actions to bring it to pass. A quick story, I had one student who at the time was in his fourth grade year and is now going into grade seven. He started with me and had several challenges, both academically and behaviorally, and certainly in need of guidance, support and love really. Side note, I didn’t create the path, but it is amazing how paths intentionally cross. In essence, I believe that there was a purpose for this one. to save some time, this student had taken to me quite quickly and felt like I cared about him and was willing to help him to improve himself, his academics and the overall child. I offered to help the student before and/or after school the student began to completely transform his academics and conduct. Not only that, I was not only addressed as a teacher, I became an extended member of this student’s family. When he had issues or problems, he would always come to me to vent, express or in need of some sort of encouragement. I’d say that this was a moment where there was an identified need. The need was met and change occurred. It was intentional. It was #impact. The result was change.
That was one of several stories that I could tell about the nature and outcome of deliberately seeking to #impact. It is an active process, rather than simply being passive about it. I wonder where that student could have potentially veered off to had he not begun to receive support when he did. How many lives could have been altered for the better, if we, the educators, simply decided to be intentional about #impact? Education as a whole would benefit from teachers who decide “Impact or Bust.” Todd and Adam spoke very highly regarding the impact of building relationships with students and families, and if I may say so, being intentional about it. I’ve taken the above mentioned student to his football practices, I have mentored him beyond the years I taught him directly, and have also been to a few of the games and other activities he was involved in. It was powerful, the #impact I was able to have because I decided to.
In the words of Jay Asher “No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.”