This morning I received a heartfelt message from my former principal. She was passing along an email from a parent of a child I taught last year. The final line of the letter read: "P.S. I hope I have everyone included on this email. I would like for this to be forwarded to Mrs. Shade, because she had a very large role in Andrew’s love of books."
Needless to say, I was touched. The power of book love is extraordinary, and it warmed my heart knowing a child's life has forever been impacted because my third grade teacher, Sheila Barnes, took the time to share her passion for literacy with me. Talk about paying it forward!
When I arrived home from school, I found a follow-up message in my Facebook inbox.
"Hello Mrs. Shade. I wanted to forward to you an email I just sent the staff and teachers. I wanted you to be included because you made a difference in Andrew's life. He tells everyone that YOU are the one that gave him a love for learning and reading. He and I share books all the time now and love discussing them. Thank you."
I am eternally grateful for these affirming words, and I will cherish them for a lifetime. The teaching profession grows more and more challenging each passing year, but messages like these remind me that the work we do makes a difference.
As Donalyn Miller says, you can change a child's future by having a book in your hand and a recommendation on your lips. She's right. I think Andrew and his mom would certainly agree.