Reflecting on an old blog

Are You a Difference Maker?

With the Super Bowl just a few days away I have been reflecting on my year. Wondering if I have been a difference maker for students, teachers, staff and parents. Several years ago I posted a blog about Randall McDaniel. It seemed appropriate to revist.

In 2009,  Randall McDaniel was inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the draft in 1988. He played in the NFL for 14 years and was in 12 Pro Bowls. Did you know he has spent the last 12+ years in education helping students? Yes, 6’3”, 276 pound, offensive lineman, Randall McDaniel is an educator.

His 2009 Hall of Fame induction speech moved me. When I wonder why I am in education or if what I am doing is having an impact, I find myself going back to his speech. He talks about dedication, energy, commitment and passion. He compares teaching to playing on the offensive line. “Life as an educator is quite similar. You bring your lunch pail to work and do an extremely tough job, without much fan fare or glory, and like an offensive lineman you typically go unnoticed, unless something goes wrong and yet without teachers nothing much would be possible.”

McDaniel continues, “We need someone to believe in us, to guide us, to teach us. We need the special people in our lives; who help shape the person we choose to become. They’re the ones who take the time to see you when you feel invisible, they’re the ones who believe in you and teach you to believe in yourself.  They’re the ones who see the hidden potential and help you discover it. They’re the ones who dust you off when you fall and encourage you to give it another try. They are the difference makers in our lives.”

As you continue this school year, filled with change and possibility, uncertainty and promise, will you be a difference maker, a caring individual who can and will make a difference in someone’s life? Think about the difference makers in your life? When did you need them the most? Look out in your classroom, in your school, in your community and ask yourself, “Who needs me the most today?” Imagine the impact we can have if we begin each day with the thought of being a difference maker.

How are you a difference maker?

Please take a few minutes and listen to Randall McDaniel’s 2009 Hall of Fame Induction Speech.


Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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