Classes are winding down this week. While this was my busiest semester, it was one of my favorites so it’s been a little sad saying goodbye to my students.
A funny thing has been happening, though.
Without realizing, my students have given me a few parting gifts—the kind money can’t buy.
The other day, a student sent me an email. In it, she shared that I had inspired her in class and that she wrote about me in her blog. She attached the link.
(saw this on my way to one of my last classes the other night)
I was shocked! And so very flattered and humbled. I couldn’t believe that something I did in class would inspire someone enough to write about it!
After all, I’m the girl always looking for inspiration. I never think I might actually be spreading some.
The following day a classmate of hers wrote this in her class reflection: “I realized I am a person driven by inspiration.” She wrote about how she always copied down my “quote of the day” from the board and later journaled about it. It was amazing to know she was learning in class, but then also learning outside of class—about herself.
The next day I said goodbye to another class. A few of the students lagged behind after class was over, as I knew they would. I sat down to spend some time chatting. A former student also popped in to say bye and wish me a nice break. One student was consumed with her phone, typing away. When I asked what she was doing, she said, “I’m typing up this poem you just gave us and posting it on Facebook for everyone to read.”
That made me happy. It’s an inspirational poem I have been giving my students on the last day of class since I first started teaching. I was glad she liked it—and again touched that others might see it.
“You know,” she continued. “Your students are always tweeting about your class.”
“What?! Good or bad?” I asked.
“Good! We tweet out the inspirational quote of the day or anything else you say that we want to remember.”
“Oh, your classes are documented online,” my former student jumped in.
Again, I was shocked. There’s a saying that a teacher never knows how far her reach goes. The idea that my students were spreading inspiration started by me, was the best gift I could have received.
My students don’t know about my blog or my Twitter or my Instagram or my Pinterest. They don’t know what an inspiration junkie I am. I mean obviously, I think they sense it! This semester alone, a few have even emailed me articles, videos, quotes or stories they know I’ll appreciate. But to think that so many were sharing my inspirational messages, without ever telling me, without really knowing how important it is to me, well, I couldn’t believe it.
Just then the janitor walked in. We all said hello and a moment later I caught him reading the quote I had written on the board.
My students noticed too.
He turned to me. “I always take pictures of the quotes you write and post them to Facebook.”
“You do not!”
“Please! Go ahead!”
Sometimes I purposely didn’t erase the board, hoping someone else would see the quote and it would leave an impact. But I never knew that the janitor read them, much less photographed them to share!
He took out his phone and snapped a photo. A moment later he said, “You don’t believe me. So I’ll prove it.” And then he proceeded to read the quotes I had been writing, one after the other.
I was so touched and excited! In fact, my students got a good laugh at how excited I became.
But to think that all this time these tiny acts that were happening in my classroom walls were spreading beyond my reach and to so many others, without me even knowing, makes me happier than I can explain.
Whenever I blog, or tweet or post a picture, I hope that someone out there gets a message he or she might need and that it makes an impact or at least gives a little smile, a little hope. Whether it’s one person or a hundred, that’s my wish. I usually don’t know what happens, but that’s part of why I keep doing what I do.
Another reason is simply because I am addicted to finding inspiration in the everyday, normal stuff. It just nourishes my soul and makes me happy.
Thank you for such a meaningful way to end the semester. What unexpected, inspiring gifts. I feel so lucky to have found out.