Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Importance of Relationships: A Reminder from Pat Summitt

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for creating this space for me to share my corner of the world.

It is a very somber day in my house.

I woke up this morning to a daughter who was experiencing a personal form of grief. She woke up to the news that her idol, Pat Summitt, had passed away early this morning.  

Megan has been a Lady Vols fan since she began playing basketball as a young girl. Her senior year, she attended a camp at the University of Tennessee with her high school team, and she has watched the women's team play several times. She even met Pat once at an Indiana Fever game and had her picture taken with her.  Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols have had a huge influence in Megan's life as a girl's basketball player.

Now that Megan is a teacher and a coach, Pat's influence is reaching her in new ways.

As I sit here on the couch listening and watching the celebration of Pat's life, one word keeps winding itself around the reflections and memories of those who knew her...relationships.

Yes, her former players and people in the world of sports talk about her fierce competitiveness, her demands, and even her icy blue stare.  But the common thread in their words is the relationships Pat had with everyone who came in contact with her.

Today as a teacher, I am reminded of the importance of relationships from a legendary coach.

My students deserve a teacher who builds relationships before building lesson plans.  

My students deserve a teacher who will not settle for anything less than their best in and out of the classroom.

My students deserve a teacher who sees them as more than a test score or a reading level.

My students deserve a teacher who will give them the confidence that they can achieve far more than they ever thought they could.

My students deserve a teacher who will teach them life lessons along with lessons in reading and writing.

My students deserve a teacher who makes every decision by putting them first.

It's not all about the game on the court, or in my case the learning in the classroom; its about the relationships with those who are in our life, something Pat Summitt's legacy is built upon.


  1. What a nice tribute. I hope you share it with your daughter.
    And I am taking some advice from your piece with me into the next school year...

  2. Yes, relationships before all else. So, so true! My condolences to your family on the loss of this mentor.

  3. What a loss! But Pat's legacy lives on in all the young people she touched and inspired.

  4. Loved Pat Summitt and I'm not basketball player! I can just imagine the loss your daughter feels. Such a loss. A tremendous mentor for coaches, teachers and women.

  5. Just read more of her bio today, Leigh Anne. What a tragic end for her family. And how wonderful that you've taken Pat's life to learn from for yourself. Yep, relationships come way before the lessons! Thank you!

  6. What a wonderful tribute to Pat Summitt, Leigh Anne! I want to share your post - the way you translated Pat's philosophies into your own about teaching is awesome! I think I'll write those down and post them by my desk to remind me that relationships come first in teaching! It was so great to see you at All Write. :-) I'm so sorry that Megan is having a hard time.

  7. Thank you for this tribute to Pat Summitt. I loved your focus on her ability to be in relationship with others. Beautiful. A beautiful life! She died much too young.

  8. What a beautiful tribute to Pat Summitt. Your connections to our lives as teachers is right on point. I so sorry for your daughter's loss. We often rise up when faced with adversity. Thank you for your post.

  9. A beautiful tribute. Relationships first for sure. It's so important, and we can't forget it.

  10. Leigh Anne, the world is always a little diminished when a great soul passes. Your thoughts about her and your action plan to help fill that void are splendid.

  11. If there is one thing that I can stress to teachers I work with, it's relationships need to be developed before learning can take place. What a great reminder you have shared today.