Yesterday I sat in the back of a room while a few of my students were being interviewed by judges for a First Lego League competition. I listened intently to them, silently rooting for them to tackle their team challenge, show their collaboration, and answer the questions. Then a judge asked, “So what do you think of your teacher and what’s it like working with her?” This was it. Moment of truth. Kids are honest and they say what’s on their mind. We all know this from experience.
One kid: “Epic.”
Another kid: “Well, she makes boring stuff exciting.”
Me? I’m pretty sure I felt the way people feel when they receive an Academy Award or get inducted into the Football Hall of Fame. No, there won’t be any newspaper articles or press releases about the comments. Teaching is not about that. I was reminded that what I do every single day matters to the kids I work with. Something nobody can take away.
So when you find yourself questioning your career, whether you’re making a difference, don’t doubt yourself. There’s a kid from your classroom, remembering you and how you made learning exciting.
The differences we make may not be seen for many years to come, or even be visible to the human eye. The differences we make are sometimes far bigger than that. When we are really lucky, we get a glimpse of them. A glimpse that reminds us just how much we do matter.