A Teacher’s Impact Can Transcend Generations

Kari PitstickBlog, Connect Better, Reflect Better


  • A teacher’s impact on the lives of their students can transcend generations.
  • Don’t lose sight of the fact that though they may not be tangible, we are making positive impacts on lives every single day.

I wanted to be a teacher my entire life.

I have memories as early as kindergarten, coming home from school and teaching my stuffed animals what I learned that day on a play white board. 

In third grade, my teacher let me make a worksheet for my peers, hand it out to them to complete, and then I went home and “graded” them.

Though I had some major undiagnosed anxiety growing up (that’s a blog for another day), school was always something I enjoyed. I was fortunate to have SO many truly amazing teachers throughout my years in school. Great teachers of content—yes, but teachers who also truly made me comfortable being at school. However, when I think about my game-changer year growing up, the year that truly changed my life’s trajectory, it was 8th grade.

We do hard work and it truly is making a difference in the lives of many. And who knows, maybe you're inspiring a love of learning in a child who will go on to do the same someday. Click To Tweet

I loved reading as a child.

So many of my favorite childhood memories involve books. However, in my later elementary years and early middle school, something changed for the worse. I can’t pinpoint why, I think it’s just something that so commonly happens with students during adolescence.

Each year, I tell my students that I used to HATE reading. I know, I know. Hate is a strong word. But I HATED it. I tell them I understand that they may not believe that their ELA TEACHER once disliked reading, but it’s true. As much as I loved school, I was that kid who pretended to read during reading time, neglected any assignment that involved reading and then asked my friends what I’d missed. 

But all of that changed in 8th grade. I went from being that kid to a kid who read 50 books in a single school year. 

So, this letter is dedicated to my 8th grade language arts teacher, Mrs. Bickley.

Dear Mrs. Bickley,

I know that I have thanked you so many times in Facebook posts and other outlets over the years, but I wanted to take this formal opportunity to truly, truly thank you. 

I could have easily been a student who continued to “fake read” and it probably would’ve been easier for you to let me. But you took the time to share so many book talks to get everyone excited about books. You took time to get to know each of your students and recommend books you thought we would like.

This love of reading has carried through to today—I have a book with me everywhere I go. And I enjoy reading so many books that I get to pass on to my students.

As a teacher now, knowing the impact this can make, one of my favorite things to do is give book talks and conference with students over at the book shelves to find the right book for them. And I hope you know this—seemingly small impact in my 8th grade year—is carrying on to impact so many more students. 

I could go on and on about how you also made me become such a better writer through creative writing prompts each week and everything else, but that will also be another blog for another day.

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Dear Reader.

So you, reader of this blog…I hope you realize the impact you may have on students in your classroom. My teacher may not have realized just how much she impacted me in that year, but it’s an impact that lives on each day.

Sometimes we get caught up in the everyday hecticness of school. Don’t lose sight of the fact that most impacts we make are not tangible. That can make it harder to stay motivated, but we do hard work and it truly is making a difference in the lives of many. And who knows, maybe you’re inspiring a love of learning in a child who will go on to do the same someday.

About Kari Pitstick

Kari Pitstick is a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher and track & field coach in Illinois. She’s also the Director of Digital Content for the Teach Better Team. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s in Middle Level Education, and American College of Education in 2018 with a master’s in Curriculum & Instruction.

She knew she wanted to teach at the middle level since she was in middle school herself. One of her main missions is to provide a safe and friendly environment for students to explore their passions as learners and as people.

Kari is an avid reader, spending most of her free time reading and writing, and she hopes to share that passion with all those around her—students and adults, alike!

Check out her website here!