Friday, August 26, 2011

"Do you care?"

We had a diversity PD day this week with illustrator E.B. Lewis as one of the speakers. He told some stories about his early life and struggles in school. A couple of things really stood out to me. First was his statement, "My trademark is hugging." There is someone hugging in every one of his books.

The emphasis of his whole talk was on caring. He told a story of speaking at a middle school assembly of around 400 students. He asked the students at the beginning of his talk if they cared. He said that only about 50 students raised their hands. He went on to explain what he meant about caring and having a purpose in life. He asked again and had the same hands. Unfortunately he did not share what the rest of his speech was about but based on what he shared with us I would assume it was his life story.

At the end of his speaking to the students he asked again, "Do you care?" Everyone that he could see raised their hand. Then he made the statement that really hit home with me:

"Hopefully, I saved a life that day."

Think about the power of that for a minute. Saving a life. He was only there one day. We get students for a whole year. We have a great opportunity in front of us every day.

I feel very good about my #1 goal for the year: love students.


  1. When I became a teacher my goal was to teach. I loved learning about new things and feeling superior to my peers. I thought that my students would have the same drive I did. (Of course, looking back I realize that I didn't have any drive, mostly I was bored.)

    It took me a long time, and a lot of pushing from others to really see what is important. I am never happier than when I am spending time talking with my students. Keep up spreading the message that we are here for the students.

  2. I remember when I began teaching my first class of 1st graders. I celebrated their tiny steps with all my heart and cried my eyes out over the things some of them went home to. A few colleagues told me I would "toughen up" as I got used to it. Thankfully, I have never gotten used to it. "Love my students" is an admirable and worthy goal!

  3. Although I didn't have the pleasure of being present at her talk, Angela Maeirs in her TEDX Talk " you matter" talks in a POWERFUL manner about making other people in general and our students in particular feel that they matter to us.
    That really connects to what you so movingly posted about caring.
    May this be a great year for us all, in which we really managa eto communicate all of this to every single pupil!

  4. Hi! I'm Hillary Parmer, an EDM310 student from the university of South Alabama. This blog post really made me think about how our actions as teachers can and will influence our students' lives, whether positive or negative!

    I think that it is really awesome that he was able to speak to all those middle school kids. I've noticed that when kids go from Elementary school to middle school, they go through a lot of changes and have to adjust to different surroundings. Of course middle to high school is hard too, but after their first adjustment the second one seems a little bit easier! As they go through the changes and adjustments, so many of them begin to struggle with the ultimate "finding their place" deal. It is important for us, as educators, to support them and be positive influences in their lives at that time. Especially because you never know what they are going through at home. I've really enjoyed reading your posts!
    Hillary Parmer