I was reading a blog today by Eric Sheninger (@E_Sheninger) about his awesome Science Teacher, Mr. S, and this really hit me: Caring. Is it that hard for some? Should it be part of our job description? Why can’t we give kiddos positive lasting impressions, memories, and connections that stay with them forever? Or, would we rather them remember standardized testing and having to sit out of recess? (that is another topic all in itself).

I hated school. There, I said it. Growing up in the highly educational and educated small town of Davis, CA in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, one might think this would be THE place to go to school. Well, for me, it wasn’t. I was then what today one would call ADD, ADHD, and inattentive. Depending on the day, I may have been cleaning erasers during lunch, (yes, we had chalkboards my friends) sitting in the principal’s office, going to school with my mom (she taught HS at Vanden HS in Vacaville, CA) because I was suspended, or having my head slammed against the classroom wall by my 5th Grade teacher! (really, I kid you not). This wasn’t all the school’s fault for sure. I do take responsibility for mooning my PE Teacher and pantsing some kids, maybe even putting wood chips in someone’s mouth, but come on, I was bored and when I didn’t understand something, I felt plain STUPID and wanted to run, run, run!

Then came 6th Grade…(breakout the Angel music) and Mrs. Paula Sherry to the scene. For the first time, someone got it! Yes, she would still find me annoying at times, but I got to move, have fun, try new things, but most importantly of all, Mrs. Sherry cared…and it showed. She would listen, laugh, read to us all the time, and best of all, she would let us be kids. Yes! Learning was fun for the first time since…ever! I finally had some confidence in my learning. Mrs. S even helped me to enjoy Math and Spelling! Yes, Jeff was in the Spelling Bee and made it through a few rounds. Wow! Mrs. S cared.

Yes, Mrs. S cared. Shouldn’t all educators do that? Maybe throw in a side of empathy, gratitude, tolerance, and faith? Mrs. S became my hero and she is primarily (shared with my mother of course) the reason that I am an educator today. Mrs. S cared.

Over the next several years, I would go by WDI (my school, now named after Mr. Willett) and visit Mrs. S to say hi, let her know how I was doing, and just hang out. She had such a positive influence on me that I would go by Sherry’s Pipe and Tobacco Shop, downtown to say hello to her and Mr. Sherry. How many High School boys go and visit their 6th Grade teachers? Mrs. S cared.

Over the college and early adult years, I lost track of Mrs. S. But a few years ago, I tracked her down on Facebook, where we re-connected, and have since shared several posts, stories, pictures and memories. Mrs. S cared.

I was recently invited to the graduation of a former student, Michael York, who graduated from the amazing Military Academy in West Point, NY. His mother tracked me down and sent me an invite. Unfortunately, I could not go, but the point is, maybe to Michael, I cared.
Do you care? I challenge you!

So, today I challenge you to do this: Write a card, make a phone call home, tell a joke, take a kiddo to lunch, play hoops/hopscotch/4 square, listen, color with, or just watch a quiet kiddo. If you can do this daily, to one or two kids in class, or at your school, you will become the Mrs. S and Mr. S of your generation. You will get kiddos coming back to visit, chat, pour their souls out, and even invite you to HS or College graduation. Mrs. S cared.
#Kidsfirst #kidsdeserveIt #joyfulLeaders #leadLAP #compelledtribe