Thinking back, I’m sure we can all recall having a tough day at school. Maybe you got a bad grade on a test or weren’t picked for a team you desperately wanted to be on. Or maybe there was a day (or days) where you just didn’t feel like your presence at school mattered in the eyes of the teachers.
While you may no longer be in school, feeling unimportant can absolutely trickle back from time to time. I happened to be experiencing some of those feelings myself when I stumbled upon an amazing video by Jamie McSparin, a teacher at Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Missouri.
McSparin recognized the students at her school go through tough times on occasion, and she wanted to do something to show them how important they are to their teachers.
So she gathered several other teachers at Oak Park together and asked them to pick one student and share why that student inspires them to come to work every day. On camera.
The teachers were a little apprehensive about doing it at first, but that was before they got these incredible reactions:
McSparin asked each teacher to record the experience. In order to catch the students off guard, the teachers looked up their schedules and momentarily pulled each student out of class.
“EVERY student we pulled from class thought they were in trouble,” wrote McSparin in an email. Of course that’s the natural reaction when a teacher takes you out of class, but once they realized what was going on, they were overcome with gratitude.
And the teachers didn’t just choose overachievers. The students picked fell on a wide academic spectrum to show their abilities don’t dictate their significance.
The initial goal of the “Oak Park Positivity Project” was to remind the teachers how much of an impact they have on their students, but it’s obviously worked to bolster students’ confidence as well.
Since the video launched, McSparin has received inspiring messages from educators across the country who are eager to bring the project into their schools.
And McSparin plans to keep the positivity going all year long. “Several students have approached me about things THEY want to do to keep it going,” she said.
Everyone can have a tough day now and again, but movements like this prove there’s always someone in your corner to gladly remind you how much you matter.