They responded quickly and enthusiastically, but it touched my heart when one former student responded, "I still remember thinking differently about visitors after you played that song in class about them being 'everyday people like you and me.' My activism started right there. Thank you!"
Wow! Now, I don't remember the moment that had such an impact on her, I don't recall the song to which she recalls me sharing (I really wonder if it was in fact my teaching partner!). But, even if she's mis-remembering and I didn't do this, I apparently DID do something right that she would attribute something having such an impact on her to me. (A quick Google turns up this lyric as a Rage Against the Machine song I *do* remember having shared with them.)
This made me feel so incredible, but of course, my self-deprecation mosquito in the ear has me wondering if that was the enthusiasm of my youth, and if my greatest days of having a real impact are behind me. And that mosquito is probably at least a little bit right. BUT, my tired old fogey self keeps trying to be better (even if it rocks the boat and/or isn't liked so much), keeps trying to be innovative, relevant, and helping students gain the skills they will need moving forward. I just read a post that reflects that others have these same mosquitoes in their ears; ideas that particularly resonate with me
I want to be different in a system of standardization. I want to push learning ahead of achievement. I want to prove that relationships and humility work better than behaviorist systems. I want to be different in the midst of the mainstream.-John Spencer, "Please Become a Teacher"
"Different in the midst of the mainstream." Raging against the machine. Hey, maybe that's the goal. To be my natural, trouble-making self. Eek.