Aug 28

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How a teacher can change a life

This morning I spoke at a Teacher Development Day about finding joy and inspiration. I really enjoyed the presentation and they asked some great questions.

**Psst – I’m available for speaking engagements and I just put up information on this new page**

I was sharing the Seven Principles Of Miracles, specifically acknowledging ourselves and accepting acknowledgment from others. One of the teachers asked about teaching students to acknowledge themselves.

I showed them this graphic that had miraculously appeared in my Facebook feed this morning:

This showed up on Facebook this morning and it set my day up in EXACTLY the right way! 🙂


I talked about one of the most influential teachers I ever had, Mrs. Kelley (I’ve written about her before in the post “An Ode To Mrs. Kelley“). In high school I was blessed to be in her history class both freshman and junior years.

She remains a powerful influence on me to this day.  It’s not because of the subject she taught. What stays with me is the presence she brought into the room every day.  The life lessons I learned from her had little to do with history and EVERYTHING to do with the kind of person I wanted to be – confident, classy, committed, persistent, and so much more.  She modeled for me what it is to be a strong, capable woman. I’ve never once seen her apologize for who she is.

I’m not suggesting her lessons in history were unimportant. But how she showed up in the room each day had a profound affect on my vision of who I could be and what I could become. If that’s not the greatest gift a teacher can give a student — well, I don’t know what is.

Mrs. Kelley never talked about those character traits. She never overtly tried to instill them in us. She simply embodied them. She stood as a demonstration of what they look like.  And that was all that I needed.  I think it’s all that a lot of kids need – a demonstration that what they want for themselves is possible.  All it takes is one teacher to touch a child’s heart and transform their life.

I know.  It happened for me.

To Mrs. Kelley, thank you.  I know that I’ve told you this before in different words, but I am saying it again because today I was reminded anew what a miracle you have been, and continue to be, in my life.

I wish for all of you that you have a Mrs. Kelley.  I wish for all of your children as they head back to school that they have a Mrs. Kelley.

And one more thing – for several years now, Mrs. Kelley has been telling me to call her Judy.  I’ve struggled with that because I have such deep respect for her and it felt kind of disrespectful.  As I was writing tonight, it occurred to me that I had it wrong.  The disrespect comes from not honoring her request.  So from now on, Judy it is.  🙂

About the author

Leah Carey

Leah Carey is the Chief Miracle Officer of The Miracle Journal, where she writes about the large and small miracles that happen in her life every day. She is a life coach, speaker, journalist, freelance writer, and lover of life. In all of those pursuits, she works with people to identify what’s already right in your life so you can build an even more joyful and fulfilling daily experience from that foundation. You can find her on Facebook, , Twitter, and YouTube.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.leahcarey.com/themiraclejournal/2012/08/28/how-a-teacher-can-change-a-life/


  1. Denise Wolf

    This is such a good message for not only teachers but students as well.
    I don’t remember having a teacher who inspired me that much. I remember off handed comments that complimented me that have stayed with me all of this time and I’m sure they had no idea what those little comments meant to me.
    To be fair, I’m not sure I understood what I could receive from them either. I was always looking forward to what would be better than where I was.
    Massive kudos to Mrs. Kelley ( I don’t know her :). And a great talk given by you. We all have such power to make a positive difference.

    1. Leah Carey

      Thanks Denise! Having Mrs. Kelley as a teacher was an unbelievable blessing. Having her now as an adult friend is a true miracle. 🙂

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