What Will be Your Legacy?

by mrsapia

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I’ve been thinking about this recently.  What do I want my legacy to be as an educator? Am I not deep enough into my career to think about it? How will the lessons I instill in my students carry over to them to be productive members of society?  Will they remember me because I spoke to them quietly in the hallway, or will they remember the time I lost my patience and raised my voice? Will they transfer the memories of the teachable moments and life lessons we share?  Will they remember me for providing opportunities to connect globally with others students using technology purposefully? These questions are often drifting in and out of my head.

My hope is that my students will remember me as someone who is passionate, caring, hard working, creative, supportive, and trustworthy. I want my students to know I value their voice and presence.  I often wake up with a drive knowing today can be the day I can make a difference in a child’s life.  Think about how powerful of a statement that is. Our responsibility as educators is to get to know our students, trust our students, provide an environment for them to thrive and grow academically and socially.  The powerful aspect of our job is that we get to start fresh everyday with a clean slate.  How many careers get to say that?  Day in and day out, our journey as educators can exhibit blissful moments of powerful learning or moments of utter frustration when you crash and burn.

Take to the time to learn from your students.  Take the time to talk to your students.  Allow a few minutes each class period to ask them how THEY are doing or what THEY are involved in.  This goes a long way to build a positive community in your classroom.  We are inundated with pacing guides, curriculum to cover, state assessments to administer, and performance tasks to give.  Granted a small handful of students will remember these moments, but I’m willing to bank on the fact these will not be the reasons students come back to visit.

They will come back to tell you thank you for listening to them.  They will come back to tell you thank you for sitting with them at lunch one day.  They will come back and tell you about a lame joke you told.  They will come back to say thanks for recommending a great book to them. They will come back and talk about a book you read aloud.  They will come back and tell you how good you made them feel by praising them for their hard work and perseverance.  They will come back to say thanks for complimenting them on their outfit.  They will come back with memories of parent/student kick ball games. Chances are you may not remember these small moments, but our students will. This will define your legacy.  This is what education is all about.  What will be your legacy as an educator?

I am a passionate teacher in Stamford, CT.  I teach fifth grade ELA/Social Studies.  I am proud to be an active member of the Twitter educational community.  I am an organizer for #EdCampSWCT and a believer in a high tech/high touch blended learning approach to teaching.  I am a certified administrator.  I believe in taking risks and working collaboratively to augment student achievement.  I love children’s literature and strive to become better everyday.  I am a husband and father.  Follow me on Twitter @mrsapia_teach