Why do #youmatter?

Why do you matter?

A few weeks ago I watched the you matter TED talk by Angela Maiers. I was amazed. I knew right away that I was ready to sign up to help Angela with this worthwhile cause. I mattered! I wanted to make sure that everyone else around me knew that they mattered. If you haven’t seen the TED talk by Angela, I highly recommend it.

When I was thinking about how to welcome back my staff I went back and watched the video again. I knew that the you matter theme would guide my staff welcome back.

I went shopping at a local store and tried to find symbolic items that I could place in a brown paper bag. Once I bought the supplies, my wife and I set everything out on our table, and began the process of stuffing the bags.


Preparing the bags and the symbolic supplies


All bags filled and ready to go


The message on all of the bags


At our first staff meeting I showed the staff this video (a shortened version of the TED talk).

Then I had the staff fill out 2 you matter cards. (I just made the you matter cards on Microsoft Word, and cut out 4 per sheet. At the top it read: you matter followed by 5 to 6 lines for the person to write. Very simple). They were given the opportunity to share in front of the staff, or wait until later. There were about 5 or 6 staff members who publicly gave the you matter cards to someone who mattered to them. I gave my cards to the Head Custodian, Wayne Parr, and my secretary, Dina Klaudi. After we gave out all of the you matter cards, I handed the you matter bags to each staff member. Reflecting back on this opening, it was just what we all needed! We also put extra cards in the front office for people to use throughout the year.

One of the staff members, Leigh Simpson, came to me with an idea that was inspired by the you matter theme.  She asked me, “Why don’t we show the parents and students on the first day of school that they matter? Let’s get a red carpet! It will tie in with the ongoing imovie trailers we are doing, and it will show them how much they matter to us!” We rolled out the red carpet, and made an imovie trailer (in real time) to symbolically show everyone just how much they mattered to us!

You Matter at #RMBACON! Just the beginning

Slowly but surely, I began to get you matter cards in my mailbox, and I in turn sent out you matter cards to other staff members. One teacher, Bobby Drewnowski, integrated this into his classes, and made a bulletin board charting the you matter progress with the students.Just the other day I had a conference with a staff member who was having trouble understanding their role in the school. At one point of the discussion, the person said that they felt like no one cared about them. I was taken aback, and thought about the you matter theme. I apologized to them if they actually felt they came to work, and they didn’t feel that they mattered. I learned a lot about the power of you matter through that conference. We all need to feel that we matter.

And the bulletin board grows ….

Dr. Dave Gentile, Angela Maiers, and Jeff Bradbury at the Bammy Awards

I was fortunate to meet Angela Maiers in person when I was at the Bammy Awards last week. I told her all of the things we were doing with the you matter theme. She was so supportive, and took the time to listen to me. I could tell she honestly thought I mattered. She encouraged me to blog about this experience.So I did. What’s next? I encourage anyone to take these ideas and implement them in their school during a faculty meeting, or even a class lesson. Use this blog, the pictures, the videos for anything you feel could continue to spread the message that you matter, because you do, and so do your students, parents, and staff members!

Thanks Angela!

For more information on you matter, please vist Angela Maiers’s website.

9 thoughts on “Why do #youmatter?

  1. Spike,

    Thanks for including that great picture. You are doing some amazing things in #NJED.

    Angela has also been a huge influence in my teaching and in the lives of my students.

    #YouMatter my friend!


  2. It was a pleasure meeting you at the Bammy Award event and a great pleasure to see Angela again. Seeing her led me to tell the story of how she mattered in my life and teaching ( http://bit.ly/RP1eqv ). I hope you don’t mind if I use some of your ideas in my school. I love the idea of the You Matter cards, and the bags were brilliant.

    • Deven,
      So interesting! I checked out your blog, and it was so cool to see that our last two posts have been about the same things (BammyAwards and You Matter). I am always learning and I am glad to see you are as wel!

      • What is it they say about great minds…? I am always happiest when learning and, like you, I’m learning all the time. We all have so much to learn from each other and to teach each other and I look forward to continuing to learn from you. You matter.

  3. Spike,
    What a wonderful post and a truly inspirational testament to the power of these two words. I can not wait to share what you have done with teachers and schools. So often we think that systemic change must be difficult and expensive; you have proven that is not the case.

    It was an absolute pleasure to meet you, and so look forward to where the conversation takes us!

    • Angela,
      Thanks for sharing your story. This whole you matter movement has helped my school so much. I just wrote 4 today to people who matter! I look forward to hearing all the great things this movement will do! You matter!

  4. Pingback: Dr. Cook's Blog - How Cool is Cool? @coolcatteacher’s keynote

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