I decided to shift gears today, because an unexpected response to a simple two line email I sent to a sampling of family and friends elicited an enormous smile on my face and now the need to share.
Let me start with a little backstory. Every Friday Betsy publishes the “Great List”. No matter how amazing or awful her week has been she takes the time to reflect and take note of something positive that happened. No matter how small, she can always find something positive from the week. Although I don’t hold myself accountable and stick to a regular writing habit, like she does, I felt inspired and wanted to share my little email experience. If I hadn’t been regularly reading Betsy’s blog, I don’t think we would have ever gotten to meet this summer and shoot her and her amazing family. :)
The Power of an Email
I’ve been playing around with an idea for a new Paleo cookbook. I decided I wanted feedback so I emailed a single question to a handful of family and friends. I assumed I’d hear back from maybe 50%. I seriously wasn’t expecting a response from every single person. I was blown away!
Since I quit teaching I’ve drastically cut my daily human-to-human interaction ratio down from 1:30+ to 1:1. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love spending every day at home brainstorming, cooking and working with Jeff. It was just a large leap in everyday life when I, all of a sudden, didn’t have to deal with the regularity of teacher stress anymore.
I taught for 6 years at a high school that enrolled over 4000 students and 300+ faculty and staff. I interacted with at least 3 adults and over 100 students daily. I shared personal connections with my students often. I talked to those in the math office that sat near me about TV shows, wedding planning and daily life happenings. Mind you I didn’t teach health and wellness and the kids may not have enjoyed talking Algebra, but I did. I loved seeing the lightbulb click when that one student finally understood. I loved tutoring and having one-on-one time with my kids and learning a little more about them each day. I felt in order to be a good teacher I had to find a way to relate what the kids thought was the most boring topic (Algebra) to something current in their lives. I tried my best to build on previous knowledge and fill the gaps so every one of my students could understand. Let me tell you, it took some sleuthing to figure out how to relate some of their lives to an exponential growth function or solving an absolute value equation but I really think when I could make the connection, it helped. Having those daily interactions made a difference in both a positive (and negative) way. Eventually the negatives overpowered me, hence the reason I’m no longer teaching.
When I moved full time to the Internet space those relationships changed. Through common interests I found close friends, majority of which now live many miles away. The person-to-person contact was no longer there. It was either a one-way street (me reading their blog and them not having a clue who I was) or a text-to-text relationship via Twitter, email or chat.
I can get wrapped up in my thoughts, this Internet space and my daily tasks but it feels really good to be able to turn to those friends and get not only a 100% response rate, but a detailed one. A simple little question turned into a fairly personal look into each of their daily lives. Lives I may or may not be a part of regularly.
To those of you reading, and those who took part in my survey, thank you. That simple little email response meant more to me than you probably know. Now I need to put my thoughts into action, which of course is easier said than done. ;)
Happy Friday y’all!
How has the power of email or social media made you smile?
(The post image of the sunset was taken while we were in Miami. It has nothing to do with this post but it reminds me of our time on the beach and also makes me smile.)