Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Ultimate Gift For an Educator

Contrary to the belief of some, educators work extremely hard for little financial incentive when you look at the amount of hours that are put into the job. Whether you are a teacher or administrator, your work has always been about the students first and foremost.  To a lesser extent, but important nonetheless, has been the desire to collaborate with colleagues to enhance learning environments and experiences for education's number one stakeholder - our students.  It all comes down to learning, no matter how you slice and dice it, both on the part of the students and educators themselves as professionals. This innate desire to improve methodologies, pedagogical techniques, environments, and professional practice are the defining characteristics of educators across the world who are making a difference in the lives of students. In our profession it is rare that we receive meaningful impact on our work until a moment in time pulls us in another direction, yet educators continue day in and day out to help all learners discover success.

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This is how I felt for basically all of my fourteen years as a public school educator.  As an administrator I always tried to help my students and staff experience success.  Did I always succeed? No way, but all my decisions were based on doing what was best for students and creating a school that worked better for them than for us as the adults.  I pushed my staff and myself to become better with mixed results at time. The motivation that kept me going was that I thought it was having a positive impact, but like I said earlier, meaningful feedback is tough to come by.  

This summer has been exceptionally difficult after I made my decision in July to leave New Milford HS. I had no idea how tough my last two days this week were going to be.  My professional family opened up like never before and humbled me with positive feedback. It made me feel very awkward, as my success has only come to fruition as a result of their willingness to embrace change and transform our school culture.  Bottom line is that my staff have and always will be the true catalysts for change at NMHS.  The end result has been a learning experience that our students not only deserved, but also expected. Then, just after I thought I had shed my last tear, I received the ultimate gift. I do not say this lightly.  This was the BEST gift a student has or could ever give me as an educator and it came, fittingly enough, through social media.  In the past I have blogged about how amazing Sarah Almeda is, but what she did touched my heart like nothing before. Her video is below.

What Sarah did literally brought me to my knees as I cried hysterically on the first day of my new job. I would never have known the impact that I had on her if it wasn't for her selfless act to create a meaningful tribute using her exceptional talents. There have also been tweets and emails from staff that reaffirmed my confidence in American education and my belief that we as educators have so much power to make a difference in the life of a child.  To educators across the globe, keep up the noble work you do for the sake of helping every child discover his/her passions.  You might not always get the feedback that you deserve, but I can assure you that your students will appreciate you in ways that you never thought were possible. That my friends is why we chose to become educators. Not for money, perks, or fame, but to positively impact kids because it is what we were meant to do.



  1. Eric, That's one of the coolest things I've seen. Congratulations on your outstanding work. Good luck on your new job.

  2. Really puts into perspective how incredible it is to be an educator.

  3. The bonus cheques of teaching are subtle and we have to look with a sharp eye on some days, but every once in awhile BAM! we get one of those windfall days that give us a whole new perspective. Congratulations on your bonus, and I am talking about this video not the big new role. That said, good luck with the new job. Thanks for sharing.