Making a difference

Working as a consultant, there are many aspects of my job. I travel across the country to big cities and tiny towns to facilitate professional development sessions with teachers. I conduct technology audits to help districts align their mission and vision with the tools that teachers and students have available. There are other times, as with any job, where I’m sitting at an airport late on a Friday evening or filling out a time sheet, that feel a little less grand, however necessary they may be.

Sometimes, though, you have those BIG moments…the ones that give you chills, remind you why you go into the office or board tiny planes for a living…the ones you know you will take home and share with your family at the dinner table that evening. I had one of those moments the other day that I know I will remember forever. I was in North Dakota, working with a group of early childhood teachers, helping them to create accounts on our online community. Some of them were extremely comfortable with the process, having joined numerous other Ning, Moodle, and other such sites before. Others needed a little more assistance. One older Native American woman, I noticed, didn’t seem to be typing anything. I went over to see if I could help.

As it turned out, she didn’t have an email address to enter into the registration form. She had never created an email account before. Finding the right person at her district who may have been able to give us her email account and password would have been too time-consuming, so we quickly created a Gmail account for her.  She turned to me, pointing to the new address she’d carefully written down. “So this is my email address?” she asked. “That’s your email address,” I confirmed. She laughed a big, hearty laugh. “I can give this to my grandkids! They can email me!”

Later that afternoon on the flight home, I thought about that woman and all the doors that had just opened up for her.  I pictured her sharing her email address with family members and friends and the excitement when she receives her first few responses. In a tiny, tiny, way, I made a difference in this person’s life. Moments like these are why I love what I do.

Come to think of it, I have a person I need to go email. ☺

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