Watch these teachers tell their students why they're an inspiration.

Thinking back, I'm sure we can all recall having a tough day at school.

Maybe you got a bad grade on a test or weren't picked for a team you desperately wanted to be on. Or maybe there was a day (or days) where you just didn't feel like your presence at school mattered.

Photo via iStock.


While you may no longer be in school, feeling unimportant can absolutely trickle back from time to time. I happened to be experiencing some of those feelings myself when I stumbled upon an amazing video by Jamie McSparin, a teacher at Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Missouri.

McSparin recognized the students at her school go through tough times on occasion, and she wanted to do something to show them how important they are to their teachers.

So she gathered several other teachers at Oak Park together and asked them to pick one student and share why that student inspires them to come to work every day. On camera.

The teachers were a little apprehensive about doing it at first, but that was before they got these incredible reactions:

McSparin asked each teacher to record the experience. In order to catch the students off guard, the teachers looked up their schedules and momentarily pulled each student out of class.

"EVERY student we pulled from class thought they were in trouble," wrote McSparin in an email. Of course that's the natural reaction when a teacher takes you out of class, but once they realized what was going on, they were overcome with gratitude.

And the teachers didn't just choose overachievers. The students picked fell on a wide academic spectrum to show their abilities don't dictate their significance.

The initial goal of the "Oak Park Positivity Project" was to remind the teachers how much of an impact they have on their students, but it's obviously worked to bolster students' confidence as well.

Since the video launched, McSparin has received inspiring messages from educators across the country who are eager to bring the project into their schools.

And McSparin plans to keep the positivity going all year long. "Several students have approached me about things THEY want to do to keep it going," she said.

Everyone can have a tough day now and again, but movements like this prove there's always someone in your corner to gladly remind you how much you matter.

Check out the video project here:

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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