The Corner of her Eye Teared-Up Just a Bit

By IPLI Mentor Mike Pinto, James Cole Elementary School

I shared some truly great news with a group of teachers yesterday. As I shared this news, I noticed the corner of one teacher’s eye teared-up just a bit.

It wasn’t a tear of sadness.

It was a tear of happiness. It was a tear of pride. It was a tear of burden being lifted.  It was a tear of affirmation. It was a tear of accomplishment. It was just a glimmer of a tear, but I saw it.

And I loved it.  I carry the memory of that tear with me still. Because that tear represented human emotion.

Education is a human undertaking. It’s a mission that requires not only brains and hard work, but it also involves a lot of heart.  It involves low points sprinkled among normal days and every once in a while a high point that keeps you going.  It’s a little like the slot machines.  Just when you are ready to step away from the machine, you hit a bit of a windfall and it brings you back for more.

Let’s face it, every single person who works in a school has a hand in the success of the children who reside and learn there.  The students you teach are a direct reflection of their home life, their previous teachers, and their own physical, emotional, and mental make-ups.  But they also are a reflection of you.  And there is a moment that hits us all when we work closely with children when they do something unexpected or great that it just makes the corner of your eye tear-up – just a bit.

Because these moments are truly wonderful and they capture the essence of why we do what we do.

Never underestimate the power of your impact on a child.  Too many times lately the tears we have been shedding in education have been those out of frustration, anger, and defeat.  It’s nice to see some victories, and a corner of an eye tear-up just a bit with some good news. Those are the moments that I hope you are reflecting upon as you lay your head on the pillow each night.

Those are the moments I hope you are pursuing each day when you get out of bed.