In 2010, I started my first year of teaching. I was teaching in a town called Tiffin, OH. Tiffin is a small town with that small town feel where everyone seems to know everyone. I was blessed to be able to teach there for 2 years in a first and then second grade classroom. When I look back and reflect on my teaching those first two years out of school, I think that my instruction could have been so much better. One area I have always excelled in though was building relationships with students and families. For me, that is why I got into teaching. Maya Angelou said, “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
This week, I received a message from a mom of a former student from my time in Tiffin. Here was her post:
“Jim, You gave this (see image) to Ethan when he was in your class years ago. I think he may have won it. We still have it! He’s going to be a sophomore! I’ll never forget my dad RAVING about this student he supervised at Heidelberg and months later I found out Ethan had you (the one dad constantly talked about) for a teacher. What a memory! Thanks for being one that makes Ethan still want to be a teacher/coach. Have a great rest of the year!”
I was at a loss for words after I read the post. Ethan probably didn’t remember that “amazing” two-digit math lesson we did, but he remembered how I made him feel.
To all of my teacher friends out there...We all have an opportunity to create these spaces for our kids. I’m praying that there have been many more kids that have come and gone through my doors that have had the same interactions and memories with me that Ethan had. We often don’t get to hear these stories. This is just a reminder for what you already know, at the end of the day, kids won’t remember what you said or did but will remember how you made them feel.