A Word of Encouragement

I’ve been collecting comics for many years and one of my favorite features as a child was the letter to the editor section. In years past, readers could write letters to the writers and artists of the comic series and a chosen few would be printed in the comic book and sometimes include a response from the artist. In the late 60’s, a young boy wrote a letter to his favorite comic strip and received a response from the creator, Stan Lee. For those who don’t know Stan Lee, he almost single-handedly created Marvel Comics with characters like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk and many others. Stan Lee wrote back to the child and said that he appreciated the support and that he was confident he was going places. That was the first time that the boy would ever be published, but it was not the last. That boy was George R.R. Martin and is the author of the omnipresent, Game of Thrones series. Martin said that the word of encouragement from his comic hero Stan Lee “changed my life“.

I think each of us at some time has received a word of encouragement, a note, or a simple smile that inspired us and kept us going. We don’t need to be a famous comic creator like Stan Lee to have a positive and dramatic impact on a child. As educators, you are already a hero and role model for many children. They look up to you for guidance and encouragement and often develop their self-image from the words and interactions you have with them. I think of Rita Pierson’s TED Talk where she talks about grading a child’s 20 point test with a Plus 2. In her words,  Minus 18 sucks the life out of you. Plus 2 says, “You ain’t all bad!” We have so much power in the way we provide feedback to students, so we need to use it wisely.

As a parent, I do my best to make sure I give encouragement to my daughters when they try new things whether they succeed or not. At school, we have many students where their only word of encouragement may come from us. To quote Stan Lee, “With great power, comes great responsibility“. As educators, we have the power and responsibility to encourage our students. If we are successful, they may go on to inspire others, just like Stan and George!



“Correction does much, but encouragement does more.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“A word of encouragement from a teacher to a child can change a life.” – John C. Maxwell

“Nine tenths of education is encouragement.” – Anatole France

Books worth Reading



  • Tuesday, September 5: All staff out front to greet students at 8:40 AM, Achievement Team Meeting at 2:00 PM to review incoming 504 plans
  • Thursday, September 7: Staff Meeting at 8:05-8:40 AM (Mandatory Reporting presentation)
  • Monday, September 11 – Friday, September 15: Scholastic Book Fair
  • Monday, September 11: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM, iReady Window Opens for grades 1-4
  • Tuesday, September 12: Achievement Team Meeting 8:05 AM
  • Thursday, September 14: No Staff Meeting, Open House/Curriculum Night 6:00-7:30 PM
  • Friday, September 15: Kindergarten Assessment Data due in Illuminate

George Martin shares his encouragement story




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