No role has a guaranteed positive Impact. Even teachers have no such guarantee. They’ll likely have an impact alright. But it’s actually possible for a teacher to have a negative impact.
I got to thinking about this when I very briefly talked to a lady at a community event. I had a table representing Simply Great Lives there. And I asked her as she passed by if she knows if she’s having a positive impact. She dismissively waved her hand and stated, “I’m a teacher. That’s my positive impact.” I was wishing she stayed for a while so we could look at it. There is no guarantee that someone will have a positive impact.
There is a scene in the documentary, “Waiting for Superman.” A kid with a hidden camera asked the teacher for some help with a problem. The teacher didn’t look up from reading the newspaper and replied, “I get paid whether you learn or not.” Those words are going to have a negative impact on kids–perhaps long-lasting and deep
A teacher certainly is in a position to have a large impact on children. At a lighter level, they are changing students’ circumstances by providing a classroom setting. They are likely changing behaviors sometimes temporarily or sometimes permanently as they teach information and skills.
A deeper-level impact, however, must be more deliberate. A teacher has the opportunity to, for example:
- help kids believe in themselves
- show kids how to value other people
- instill a sense of personal responsibility
- foster integrity
- believe in what’s possible
The possibilities are endless. What a teacher chooses as their positive impact would depend on what they are passionate about. But a deeper impact will require being focused and intentional. In order to be really effective, the teacher would also need to check in with the students to make sure they are actually creating the desired result in the students.
If you’ve been assuming your having a big positive impact because you are in a certain role, I encourage you to really look at the impact you’re having. Check out the impact ruler and assess for yourself what level of impact you’re having. Can you have a deeper impact, changing the person, not just their mood, circumstances or behavior?
And remember that no role comes with the guarantee of a positive impact. It’s possible to heap on negative impact that can practically cancel out any lighter-level impact. That’s why we need to be aware of how we are impacting other people.
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