Goal 11: Feel The Weight of Your Impact #30GoalsEdu

Goal 11 of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators! Click the link to find out more about the new changes to this year’s 30 Goals Challenge for Educators!

A Thought on Impact

Everyday I wake up I feel the weight of my impact. I am connected to over 20,000 educators worldwide on social networks. On Twitter it’s over 25,000. Educators follow the resources, messages, words, links, etc. that I share. They listen, then share with their communities. I plant seeds everyday. They spread the seeds. What if I took this role lightly? What if I carelessly shared or used my words to spread hatred or a certain convoluted idea? Over 20,000 is enough to start a mini- movement, a revolution, and even a war. History has proven this to us and so I carry the weight of my impact daily. I try not to forget and I try to inspire wherever I go even when I don’t feel like it. My mood and my words have power.

An Educator’s Impact

Millions of educators out there take their roles lightly, because they do not realize the weight of their impact. They don’t realize that every time they walk into a classroom they plant seeds that may grow into weeds and stunt their students’ learning journeys or worse produce more weeds. Weeds destroy a lot in their path and make beautiful plants difficult to grow. I’ve walked into many classrooms and heard teachers, principals, counselors tell a student he or she isn’t good enough, is too dumb, or seal their fate by saying they will follow the steps of their trouble-making parents or siblings. The problem is that our students listen to us. They often become the products of our words and actions because we spend so much time with them. We don’t just get them a few minutes. We often get them months or most of the year. We influence them. If a child believes he will be a criminal and grows up to be a criminal, that’s a weed we spread. That student will impact all the people he/she hurts and their families. They will often get their peers to follow along in their crimes. That’s the impact of negative words or messages.

I’m not bashing teachers. I want to remind you that as an educator you have a weight you carry daily. You have the weight of 1000s. You have impact.

Let’s Do the Math

I like infographics, because they show us a visual representation of numbers and sometimes I wish every teacher could be given an infographic of the number of students they have taught and who they have impacted as a result of their learning. Let’s try getting a mental picture of our individual impact just with students we have taught. I’ve included a chart to kind of help with this process.

  • In the first column, list each year you have been teaching.
  • In the next column, write down the number of classes you have been teaching or list the class name.
  • In the 3rd column, write down the number of students in each class.
  • In the 4th column, write down the total of students taught for that year.
  • In the 5th column, write down the total of students taught through tutoring or special programs.
  • In the last box, come up with the number of students you’ve taught in your life. For many of us this number is in the 100s to 1000s.

Imagine the impact each of those students will have on others. They will make choices everyday which are supported by the seeds planted in them throughout their learning journey. Our students will go into the world and influence. I have seen teachers who transform the lives of students who were following wrong paths and I have seen those students transform the world in a positive way. Every world changer has had an incredible teacher who believed in and supported them.

The Goals

Short-term– Figure out how many students you have taught and influenced. The next time you interact with your students plan how you will plant positive seeds in their lives.

Long-term– Make it a habit to feel the impact of your role each day you interact with your students so that you can begin planting meaningful and purposeful seeds. Let us know in a blog post, podcast, or video how you actively plant positive seeds in your students’ lives.

Important News

  • Lisa Dabbs and I have decided to change the hashtag to #30GoalsEdu because we have noticed some sports people using the hashtag. Please make the transition.
  • This year we are focusing on 1 to 2 goals a week in order to have time to really reflect on the tasks and respond to each other’s posts and enhance our support system for each other.

Check out my Pinterests for other posts with this goal or ask me to add yours!


Feel the weight of your role as a teacher. This week actively plan to plant positive seeds and reflect on what happens.

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30Goals, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the GooglePlus page, or adding a comment below!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.


  1. I really like this one, Shelly. It’s so easy for us to only see one class at a time and not reflect on the cumulative effect that we’ve had over the course of our careers. For me, something happened last week that got me thinking about this. It was someone who’d been in my class several years ago popping up on facebook and messaging me with a joke we’d shared five years previously. I suddenly thought, hey, this guy remembers me and I must have had some impact on his life. It’s hard to get a perspective yourself on all the lives you’ve touched, so I’ll definitely be giving this one a go.

    • Hi Adam,

      Thank you for sharing this story. Many teachers have told me they are waiting for this moment. I am fortunate I have had these moments already and I am always relieved and happy when I find that the kids are doing well and living their lives in a positive way. I have also lost students, though, and at those times I think it is human to imagine what I could have done to save them. I now try to carry the lessons I’ve learned in those times to make me a better individual and carrying teacher.

      • I have also run into students and have been so pleased when they remember something I said or did during class many, many years ago. Ironically, I can often picture where the student sat in my classroom. Guess it shows what an impact my students had on me as well!

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