The title of this post is a quote from Angela Maiers in a TEDx presentation I watched last year. It really resonated with me because as a teacher I try to impress upon my students that they are significant, that they positively impact not only me and each other but that they can also have a significant impact on their local community. Over the years my students have designed, developed and implemented several projects that highlight their ability to be agents of change within the community and they have been validated and felt like they matter not only by collecting and analyzing data, but also because of recognition they receive from others though projects like the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge and the GlobalSchoolNet.org Cyberfair program.
I was prompted to watch the presentation again because of two important events that have happened to me over the last few days that have made me feel significant. The first was receiving notification of a successful submission to the Microsoft Partners in Learning U.S. Forum .This will be my second year attending the event and I am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of visiting the Redmond campus once more to spend two days learning with and from innovative educators from all over the country. Attending last year had a huge impact on my life as an educator. I was inspired and reenergized and my teaching throughout the year has been positively impacted because Microsoft sent the message loud and clear that as an educator, I matter.
The second event was receiving an email from a local senator congratulating me on the work that my students have been doing to raise awareness of sustainability in our local community. I have no idea how he heard about it and I was just so excited to tell my students that other people are recognizing their significance too. I also realized how much these events affected me personally. This school year has been challenging and rewarding, hectic and exhausting and as we draw closer to summer vacation it has been just that little bit harder to get out of bed in the morning, I’ve struggled to find the motivation to keep up with my Blog and I’ve been feeling slightly overwhelmed with necessary end of year school business. Being told by both Microsoft and a local senator that the work I do is significant and meaningful has totally changed my outlook in the last few days. I’m ready and able to finish the year strong with as much enthusiasm and passion as I started the year with.
The purpose in writing this post has not been to be boastful, but to confirm the message that Angela is conveying in the TEDx talk. Using the two simple words “You Matter” can have a tremendously positive impact on the people around us. All over the country, as the school year comes to a close, educators are participating in their own version of Survivor. As Angela states, big people need to know they matter too. In the last few remaining weeks of school I am determined to remind not only my students that they matter but also my colleagues. I want to let them know that I see them, that I value and appreciate them and that they are significant. I cannot think of a more powerful and simple way to thank my colleagues for another great year of learning.