At the start of this school year we began implementing our 1:1 program at the High School. We are 1:1 now in grades 3-12. As part of the technology team, we work together to deploy laptops and iPads to students. Before becoming an ITRT I spent seven years in the classroom and was part of the 1:1 pilot initiative. I have worked with many students and never truly knew what kind of impact I was making on the students I worked with. I was able to see a glimpse of this through high school deployment. While deploying laptops to high school students, I was able to see some of the students I had worked with! Many still remembered me and the fun they experienced in my class! One little lady proved to me that the fun, hands on lessons will stick with her for years to come. She told me “I still remembering using Oreos in your science class to create the moon phases.” This lesson although simple was something that stuck with her! As a teacher, it is so hard to understand the impact we make on students. We thrive to do our best and put our best lessons forward in hopes that something will stick, that one more approach or method may get through to one more child. We watch the “Ah-Ha” moments happen with many students but worry about those who fall through the cracks. Laying awake at night thinking about how we can get through to them! Wondering, what can I do differently?
While teaching 4th grade, I worked with a student that really struggled to read. She was on a primer reading level in 4th grade and her mother didn’t graduate high school. I worried about her future and how I could help support her as a reader and learner. I watched as she worked hard but struggled and cried because it was very challenging for her! I reminded her that she was beautiful and smart! I wanted her to know I cared and that no matter how difficult school was that she would be successful in life! I wanted her to love school but most importantly I wanted to see her graduate high school!
On that same day of high school deployment, I was scanning my computer for the information I needed to distribute a laptop when I looked up and saw her face! There right in front of me was that student. She had a bright smile on her face. The one I remember so vividly, being so warm and welcoming! That young lady is now a senior in high school. I told her how proud of her I was and asked what she wanted to do after she graduated? What she told me next brought me to tears. She said, “I want to go to college!” Here is a young lady that never had it easy yet she never gave up! She faced every obstacle in her way and made it out the other side.
These experiences are rare in my book but knowing that maybe, just maybe, I helped her on her journey is a great feeling! It reminded me of why I work so hard everyday! It reminded me that the late nights are worth it, because these kids are worth it!
As a new school year begins, I continue to reflect and think of ways to improve upon myself and ponder ways that I can support and help teachers on their path! I want to be innovative and forward thinking by providing teachers with a platform and support that makes taking risks easier! After less than a month of school I can honestly say that the teachers I work with everyday are reaching new heights this year! They too want to make a difference!
Teachers this is my ode to you. As you become tired and worn down remember that you are making a difference and what you do everyday does matter! Know you are making an impact because you care! Remember to take risks this school year and reach new heights because our students deserve the very best!
Stay tuned for all that is in store for this school year! I have no doubt that this will be the best school year yet!