10 05 2012

What does it mean to appreciate?


1. Recognize the full worth of.

2. Be grateful for (someone or something).

This week is Teacher Appreciation week. While I am all for celebrating the great things that teachers do – and there are a lot of things –  merely having a week? Well, it’s  not enough. When I think back to the teachers that influenced me, there were some great ones. My 8th grade English teacher, my first grade teacher and my High School English teacher, made me feel like I could do anything. My 3rd grade teacher influenced me as well. She tried to instill in me that I could not do anything. So, I had something to prove.

How you treat students and the people around you has a resounding effect. We may not be aware of it, or even realize the impact our actions and words may have on someone, but they’re there. Appreciating our students for who they are and what skills they possess, as well as creating an environment where learning is an adventure worth having – that’s what it should be about.

To show my appreciation,  I am showcasing some people in the last week that have taught me something- and they aren’t “teachers” in the conventional sense. But I appreciate what they have taught me as I listened to their stories.

Chris Jones is a young man about to graduate from High School and attend Wentworth Institute of Technology. A self-described technology enthusiast and web developer, his site illustrates that truly, anything is possible. While listening to his story at last week’s Apple Update Session, he gave us 5 tips. They are:

1. Set your own boundaries.

2. Search, Discover, repeat. Google is a great tool. Soon you’re learning things and you don’t even know it.

3. Love to teach, love to learn. You can teach and teach, but the more you learn, the more you can teach.

4. Take every opportunity, no matter how big or small it is. You never really know where an opportunity is going to go unless you take it.

5. Pursue your dream and don’t let anyone or anything stand in the way. Learn from your mistakes.

 Such a smart young man. I don’t think I was quite that smart at his age.

I had the honor of presenting at the Spring MEOTA conference on customizing the iPad to meet therapy and learning needs. While I was excited to present, I was even more excited to have the opportunity to hear Travis Roy speak.

In reflecting about his message, I am still awe-struck and inspired at what he said.  Looking beyond the superficial and seeing the true person inside. Travis clearly has an amazing spirit, and his kindness can be easily seen in how he speaks to people.

He is candid about his accident, his rehabilitation, and how therapists, family, and friends helped in some dark moments. He is living proof  that a positive attitude, a change in perspective, and how you face adversity matters in life.

Realizing the impact of Assistive Technology on his life, and wanting to find a cure for Spinal Cord Injuries, he started The Travis Roy Foundation , which provides Assistive Technology to individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries. and is also focused on finding a cure for  Spinal Cord Injuries.
Reading and seeing the impact of the foundation is really awesome. One of my favorite items from the site are the greeting cards that are painted by Travis. They are beautiful.
Lastly, the smallest token of appreciation can have the greatest impact.
A broken printer left a student unable to access their work. As a result, a new one was ordered, and fortunately arrived quickly. When I got the notification that it was at the school, I went to set it up. Tests with the device worked, and we were eager to put the printer in the classroom. Once it was set up, the student was able to test it. Upon hearing the sounds of work being printed for the teacher to see, the student exclaimed, “Oh! You’ve made my day! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
That simple token of appreciation goes a long way. That printer, which is considered a simple piece of technology to some, was a landline to this student to show the teacher what they knew.
So, appreciate. You never know what will come of it.



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