Seeds of Hope


Lisa was shopping for fruits and vegetables at the farmers market when she stopped at my booth to ask about the Chalk and Chances project. As I described teacher impact, she immediately thought of Mrs. Grisham, her second grade teacher. Lisa described the way this teacher spoke words of power and hope into students’ lives.

I grew up in a small, rural town. There were several family farms, and most of the town’s residents were economically disadvantaged. It was a given that young people would stay and work on the farm. It was difficult to imagine a different life. During the first week of second grade, Mrs. Grisham asked us to write about what we wanted to be when we grew up. A few of us really wanted to be farmers, but the rest of us had different dreams. She began to call us by the titles of the professions to which we aspired. I became Lisa the teacher. Some of my classmates were Amy the nurse, Tom the banker and Bill the scientist. Mrs. Grisham often reminded us of the possibilities for our lives and helped us visualize our futures.

Twenty years later, I went back to my home town and stopped to visit my second grade teacher. I wanted her to know I became a teacher, just as she predicted. I wanted to thank her for helping me believe it could happen. Mrs. Grisham explained that she grew up the daughter of a farmer. She went off to college and came back to make a difference. In some ways, she is a farmer, planting seeds of hope in her students. She does not always get to see what grows from those seeds, but every once in a while, a student comes back to show her. Mrs. Grisham is my model for growing hope in the hearts and minds of my own students. Her seeds will continue to bear fruit.

Lisa’s story caused me to reflect on the power of our words. As teachers, we can intentionally speak hope and healing. We can help students imagine a world yet to be seen. Was there a teacher who spoke a powerful message into your life?

Wishing you an endless supply of chalk and chances-


Where did the stories in the Chalk and Chances project come from? Find out here.   

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