I leave an impression – or at least that is what I hear. My wife tells me, “Don’t ever rob a bank. You’d never get away with it. People remember you.” “Is that a good thing?” I ask. “Why ascribe a value to it?” she replies. “Just leave it at that. You’re memorable.” Her thought was confirmed this morning at church.
In the middle of the service I turned to exchange the peace with a teenager who looked familiar. “Oh wow. I know you from kindergarten. I remember your lessons.” Though I couldn’t remember her name, I knew exactly who she was – always happy – always spreading a ray of sunshine around our school. As it turned out, she made quite an impression on me, as well.
We talked after church. “You know what I really remember about you? You were never condescending. A lot of adults talk down to you when you’re young. You never did that.” She continued to tell me other details from her year at our school – specifics about my lessons – her kindergarten teacher – how the PE teacher called her a lovebug and gave her a bracelet – and how much she loved school. Though she’s now heading off to college, I feel certain these positive memories will stay with her for years to come.
I’m fine with being memorable. I just hope the impressions I leave are positive ones. Teachers, we are beginning a new school year which means we get a fresh start. Our emotional states, the words we choose, our actions – they all have the potential to “stick”. So this year I encourage you to approach every day with your students as though it will be the last opportunity you have with them to make positive impressions. Tons of student memories are counting on it.