You Never Truly Know Your Reach

ImpactToday was the first day of the ASCD Conference. At a conference this size, there are so many opportunities – sometimes too many. My conference menu consisted two key-note sessions. One with Daniel Pink and the other with Sir Ken Robinson. I attended break out sessions on Leadership Coaching, a session where a school districts shared their form of RtI, and a session by author Eric Jensen. My mind is a whirlwind right now.

I sit here wanting to review notes and tweets to determine a focus for a post while meeting my deadline for the Slice of Life Story Challenge I am currently involved in. I could easily share tidbits from the sessions I attended – and will in the coming days once I synthesize my thoughts.

Tonight I reflect on a humbling experience I had this evening. I had the opportunity to visit with Twitter friends @burgessdave, author of Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educatorand his wife, @burgess_shelley. I had met both last year at the ASCD conference and it was nice to see them again this year. Shelley is presenting a session on Sunday, March 16 with two colleagues (Marla Fernandez and Amy Illingworth) entitled  Principal Power: Growing and Supporting Instructional Leaders. I had already planned on attending the session – as the topic is a deep passion of mine.

Photo1 (7)But this evening was special. Shelley wanted me to meet principal, Marla Fernandez. I was humbled to find out that Marla had been inspired by one of my past blog posts. During a book study of Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an EducatorI was moved to write a post entitled Lifeguard or Swimmer. Dave asked readers of his book to determine if they were a lifeguard or swimmer. He explained, “lifeguards sit above the action and supervises the pool. Although he or she is focused, there is a distinct sense of separateness both physically and mentally. In contrast, a swimmer is out participating and an integral part of the action.”

My post, Lifeguard or Swimmer, looked at the role of the administrator in this same light. It turns out that Marla fashioned her whole school year around my blog post. She is a swimmer and her teachers know she is with them stroke – not just watching them from the sidelines. The theme is complete with little reminders. At one point she gave each of her teachers “floaties.” Recently one teacher mentioned that she (Marla) was her “floatie” as recognition of her support with them in the waters.

My one little blog post changed the course of a school year for a principal in California.  I was humbled and speechless as Marla and Shelley told me of this. As a blogger, I reflect. I write. I click publish and hope someone will be inspired. Tonight I am honored to have been one small part of Marla’s impact as a SWIMMER principal.

There are many times, as educators, we never really know our impact – yet we have impacted hundreds of students, their parents, a community. We have changed lives along the way. Let someone know of their impact. It is a beautiful feeling. In life there are no small acts. Every act, no matter what the size, leaves a ripple effect.

“No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.” 
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

slice-of-life_classroom-image-blackDuring March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge! More Slice of Life posts can be found on Two Writing Teachers

And a special thanks to: @RdngTeach, @DirectorAmy, @directora08@SmithOugh,  and @barb_montfort and @burgess_shelley. It was great hanging out with you this evening. Thanks for understanding my little obsession for IOWA STATE basketball. It was a thrill to come from behind and beat Baylor for the Big 12 Championship tonight (74 to 65). We MARCH on in MARCH MADNESS!



  • faige 16 Mar

    Your reflections about the impact of posts we write, really spoke to me. How wonderful you have a chance to see the impact your posts have had. I am pretty sure all who blog feel this way. But the writing itself can be cathartic and that’s okay, too. This evening I came home to an email from one of the parents of a kindergarten student. She wanted to thank the teachers for her little boy’s love of reading as he announced to his mom, “I read a really hard sentence.” And then he exclaimed to his cousin, “our minds are growing bigger.” Pretty good day for both of us I would say. Thanks for sharing.

  • Amy's Reflections 16 Mar

    We really never know how we might make an impact. Your words then and now are beautiful! I’m so glad I met you (IRL!)!

    • Kathy Perret 20 Mar

      It was wonderful meeting you IRL! Your session was powerful. Still thinking about it.


  • Kate Schwarz 20 Mar

    How neat that one of your blog posts reached, touched and inspired someone so deeply!

Comments are closed.