If you have followed QISA's work you know that one of the 8 Conditions that Make a Difference for students is Heroes. Heroes are the everyday people in your life who believe in you. They are the one's who tell you that you can succeed even when you are not so sure. They are the people who show you respect before you've "earned" it. They are there with a shoulder when you are feeling unsteady and with a back pat when you are feeling accomplished.
Here's a Heroes Thanksgiving break assignment: Make three columns. For the header of each column write NAME, WHAT, WHO respectiveley. In the first column write the NAME of all the teachers (if you can) that have had a positive impact on your life. In the second column make a check mark if you recall the specifics of WHAT they taught you. Do you remember what books you read in Mrs. Flaherty's English class? How to do the quadratic equation that Mr. Finnegan taught you? Do you recall the particular art projects Mrs. Kelton taught you? In the final column make a check mark if you recall WHO this person was. By that I mean, his personality, her expectations of you, the level of respect and care she showed you. Do you recall what kind of a person that teacher was?
One of my favorite quotes is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying." I think this is especially true of the teachers I have been gifted with in my life. From Mrs. Kelton in the first grade to the many professors that guided my doctoral work. Thanks to them and to all of you who make a difference for students!