Many years ago, I worked with women who did not have the opportunity to finish high school due to difficult life circumstances. It was interesting work and I loved helping these women gain the knowledge and skills needed to get jobs and move on with their lives; it was meaningful work. What I was never quite certain of was their perception of the work we did. Did it matter? Did we make a difference?
Several years after I left that job and moved to Delaware I received a card from one of the women I worked with thanking me for helping her and letting me know how she has moved on in her life. She let me know that I did make a difference in her life, just as she did in mine.
Earlier this month, one of our Extended Day teachers passed away. By remembering Mark Bomgardner we recognized the difference that he made in our lives and the lives of our students. People honored his memory with stories, speaking of his influence on their lives. What we know is that his life made an impact on those people and many others who were not able to be there but shared stories through Facebook and our website.
Many people in education do the work they do because they want to make a difference, for a child, a family, a school or society in general. What we may not know is exactly how we do that or who we influence. We do the work anyway. September is quickly approaching. We will be influenced by faces new and familiar. We will work together and try to make a difference for each other as we begin another school year.