Today was the second day of full day inservice meetings in our back-to-school week for teachers. One of our committees started off their presentation by sharing a video of 9-year-old Dalton Sherman's powerful keynote in 2008 for Dallas ISD. What a back-to-school message to share.
As it went on I laughed, teared up, clapped, cheered, and thought to myself, This kid is great. And, of course, I thought of my own students. I thought of how much I believe in them. I wondered if they always know that I believe in them. I was curious if they sometimes want to shout out to us, but don't. I thought of my colleagues and school staff in the room and how much I believe in them. I was reminded of how much I believe in my school and our mission and vision, and how grateful I am to be there. I immediately thought of my kids and how much I would love for them to experience the standing ovation that Dalton gets from speaking so powerfully and touching so many people emotionally. I then thought of Auggie Pullman (you know the reference, right? From the end of WONDER?).
And as it finished, and the lights were coming up, and tears were being wiped from eyes, and smiles were expanding, and the energy was increasing...I turned to my friend and said, "Now that's a mentor text to use. I'm totally going to. I want to focus on identity and community at the start of the year anyway, so I want my students to write "believe" speeches and present them (on any topic they choose)."
So one more item was added to my to-do list. Once again, I was adjusting what I was planning to do to start the year. And isn't that just how it is with teaching? Being impacted by something...seeing the connection to my students...adjusting plans to share something with them...planning lessons that will let me get to know them, let them get to know each other, give them a way to build confidence, a way to learn to communicate clearly, a way to share, a way to look inside themselves and figure out what they stand for...a way to impact others.
And who knows, maybe we'll find a way for them to get that standing ovation themselves.
Because I believe in each one of them.
(You can skip the beginning stuff from the district and start at 45 seconds)