Pay it forward

DSCN6367Two things happened on August 10, 2015; I took part in Vicky Loras’s webinar for the iTDi Summer Intensive for Teachers called Not Only Staying Afloat, But Also Making Waves, and later on that day, I watched the Pay it Forward movie.

The webinar was a tribute to teachers who despite all the difficulties they constantly face never give up and do even more to make the world of education a better place. In her talk, Vicky told us about her own past struggles and shared her gratitude for the help she got when he was desperate.

The movie was about Trevor, a small boy who, too, attempts to make the world a better place. In short, Trevor’s new social studies teacher gives his students an intriguing assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor comes up with an idea of repaying good deeds with new good deeds done to three new people – not with one payback, as it is usual. Eventually, to everybody’s surprise, his efforts bring a revolution in the lives of his family members as well as people completely unknown to him.

I couldn’t but notice the coincidence (or synchronicity) and the overlap of those two unrelated experiences I had on the same day. In both cases, a crucial role was played by inspiring teachers who, through their influence on students and other people, strive to change the world to a better place. The most important takeaway for me, from both the webinar and the movie, is the importance of connecting and helping.

Both experiences are reminders that human life and development occur within a network of relationships; we are social beings embedded in a social context. However, things have changed a great deal recently. In the past, it was hard to change the world from one’s armchair – one simply had to go out and act. This is what Trevor did after all. Nowadays, it’s possible to have an enormous, positive impact on other people without even leaving one’s room.

I find it amazing because we’ve never had a better opportunity to pay good deeds forward so massively – not just to three people, something that Trevor’s followers did, but to hundreds of folks at one go. This is what Vicky and others do every day. Somebody selfless once helped them and now, they’re generously paying it forward. The greatest thing about it is that now I am the recipient of their generosity and so are you.

I’m sure that even if you didn’t go through any serious difficulties and thus nobody had to help you, still, there are things which you are grateful for and which are worth being ‘paid forward’. You can start small. For example, when my blog was in its infancy, there were people out there in the virtual world who noticed what I was doing and they started promoting my blog on Twitter and other social media. To name at least two of my edu-stars (and to be gender-fair), it was Mike Griffin, whose support I appreciated very much, and Sandy Millin, who regularly reads and shares my posts (and comments on them a lot, too).

Now, apart from this thank-you interlude, there’s not much I can do to pay these great guys back, but I can easily pay it forward by sharing and promoting new bloggers and/or motivating teachers to start blogging. Also, I can interact with well-known, experienced bloggers and still be very helpful because everybody appreciates feedback, no matter how famous they are.

About Hana Tichá

I'm an EFL teacher based in the Czech Republic. I've been teaching English to learners of all ages for more than 20 years. I love metaphors and inspiring discussions concerning teaching, learning and linguistics.
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8 Responses to Pay it forward

  1. mikecorea says:

    Hey wow. Great post and thank you very much for the mention. One of the things I have been proudest about on my blog was highlighting new(er) bloggers and this is something I wish I’ve done more of. I love this idea of paying things forward! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hana Tichá says:

      My pleasure, Mike. Yes, I know you do this and I think it’s great. It’s good when a new blogger gets noticed because then they get more readers and people to interact with, and subsequently more motivation to keep writing and sharing stuff (I’m quite skeptical about the idea that it doesn’t really matter if nobody reads your blog). Anyway, thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. laurasoracco says:

    Love the synchronicity, Hana! And indeed -paying it forward not only makes sense but feels great. I’m so thankful for all the connections online and the motivation I get from teachers like you. I can only hope to share some of that feeling with others. Your post is making me think of ways to do that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hana Tichá says:

      Thanks, Laura! Your remark made me feel curious – are you up to a post? 🙂 Anyway, I can’t wait to find out about your intentions.


  3. Sandy Millin says:

    Thank you so much for the mention Hana. I’m pretty sure it was from one of Mike’s posts that I originally started reading your blog, and what a happy day that was 🙂 Your blog is one I always look forward to because you always make me think, and it’s probably the one I comment on the most too! It was through other bloggers that my blog got off the ground, and it’s a great pleasure to be able to pass on that kind of help to others. I’m looking forward to reading your future recommendations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hana Tichá says:

      See, Mike? You started the chain 🙂 Sandy, I’ve said it many times before, but I’ll say it again: I really appreciate your support – the reading, commenting and the sharing (of not just my stuff). I’m truly in awe of your productivity; although a busy globetrotter, you rarely fail to find the time to lift other people’s spirits. I’m so happy to have met you and I hope we’ll meet face to face some day. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such powerful stuff! Makes me think of people who’ve been there for me, encouraging me in their own way to write more — even if it’s just sharing or retweeting — although I know I don’t write about interesting things and that I need to continue working on my writing. You’ve been an inspiration, and I appreciate you sharing my posts too — boosts the morale. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hana Tichá says:

      Thanks for your beautiful comment, Tesal. I really like your blog; it’s far from uninteresting. I think it’s great when people can peek into other classrooms, in totally different cultures, and see that teachers elsewhere go through the same struggles and experience the same successes. This is why reading and sharing stuff is so great.

      Liked by 1 person

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