“Not everything that can be counted counts.
Not everything that counts can be counted.”
Congratulations! You made it through the school year with all its triumphs, setbacks, disappointments and positive breakthroughs! Seriously, take a deep breath and savor the fact that another school year is over and you have chosen a purposeful path in life – to influence the learning, personal growth and self-awareness of students.
There is nothing more sacred than the art of teaching – from classroom educators, to administrators to custodial staff – everyone counts and everyone is making a difference! If you remember this one thing, your work will always flourish: Positively influencing the lives of young people is sacred. There is no higher calling.
How do you measure the difference you are making? Long after the last IEP, standardized tests and grades have vanished into red tape oblivion, it is you and you alone that will know whether or not your efforts have counted. While necessary for accountability and overall direction, the massive payload of benchmarks, measurements and indicators will vanish from the face of the Earth in a few short years. Your influence will last a lifetime. Think about it. Here’s an example:
I remember my 8th grade English teacher – Mr. Addy – an old-school almost “British style” teacher. I am age 48 and I still vividly remember the vocabulary he taught us, the little paragraphs by E.B. White he would hand out for analysis and how we would pass his apartment on the drive home from school and see him waiving from the balcony – he gained energy and motivation from his students.
See, these are the things that count – the memories, the inspirations and learning that your students will take with them forever. You are the very creator of these things even though they are often invisible!
Yes, the tests, indicators, benchmarks, etc. can be counted and measured and they are important. But never, never, never ever think that this is what education is about as much as it often appears so. Because when it comes to the passion, energy and love that you bring to teaching, that’s what counts through your lifetime, the students’ lifetime and well-beyond. Will your teaching resonate across generations or is the year something to “get through?”
I wish you a peaceful summer – filled with the rest, rejuvenation and re-purposing you deserve. You have made a difference this year in the lives of so many. And even when you didn’t see the results, get the feedback you deserved and needed or felt appreciated, it counted in a marvelous, beautiful and profound way. Boy, oh boy, did it count!
Rob Levit, an acclaimed musician and artist and 2013 Innovator of the Year from the Maryland Daily Record, has created award-winning innovative “Life-Skills Through The Arts” programs for adults with mental illness, the homeless, adults in drug and alcohol recovery, youth in domestic/sexual abuse counseling, foster children, hospital patients, veterans and many more. He is currently Executive Director of Creating Communities and was the first Artist-In-Residence at Hospice of the Chesapeake, where he created and infused healing activities for the well-being of staff, families and patients. Email Rob.