Thursday, October 27, 2011


Recently I ran in the Race for the Cure. Every corner I turned there were cheerleaders right there to give all of us runners encouragement.  Their enthusiasm and energy were invaluable.  As I was running a steep hill in the middle of the course, I felt myself losing steam, just like a balloon with the air seeping out.  I was going flat.  Then, there they were, the cheerleaders telling me I could do it and that the top of the hill was just ahead. I soaked in those encouraging words and replayed them over and over as my feet pounded in rhythm up the hill.  They knew I could do it and so did I!  Because they believed in me, I knew I must keep going. I needed to dig down deep, push through the pain, find a new gear, keep the legs moving, and finish the race.

The encouraging words from the cheerleaders were personal and meaningful and inspired me to keep running the race.  

Educators are like those cheerleaders, they have the ability to encourage students everyday in a meaningful way.  But teachers are just one person.  Often the encouragement stays within the walls of the classroom and not every student gets encouraged daily.  For example, when a student writes a paper for class, typically the teacher is the only one who reads and evaluates the document. Many students get discouraged writing because the feedback comes several days later and from only one person.

If that same information is shared electronically, feedback is immediate, rich, and encouraging. The immediate electronic validation comes not from just one cheerleader, but from cheerleaders all over the world. The comments can be read and re-read and give the author new insight and purpose to their creation.  Encouragement instills a passion to continue to create and develop ideas.   The result is a desire to write and share more information.

I enjoy both roles, as both a creator of content as well as an encourager.  When someone leaves a comment on a story or post I have written, I feel like the color yellow, happy and radiant.  I find that leaving a comment on someone’s blog feels as good as receiving one.  I know by reading and responding to a post makes a lasting impact on the writer because I took the time to read their ideas and leave words of encouragement for them.

As poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  said, “Correction does much, but encouragement does more.”

-Ann Feldmann

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