Education, expression, Higher Education, K-12, pedagogy, Performance, Reflective Practice, Streams of consciousness, Student leadership, Teacher Education, Teacher influence, unheralded rewards of teaching
I have spent so much of my time lately on my blog devoting it to my poetic side. I have enjoyed sharing that part of me with those of you who have honored me by continuing to follow my blog. I really appreciate this, but I must admit that I have denied a bigger part of who I am in the process–me the teacher.
Recently, I have been reminded that the vocation of teaching is a profession that has been neglected on so many levels for all sorts of reasons. I originally wanted to talk with other educators who, I had coined were “in the educational trenches,” which essentially is the title of this part of my blog. But I have been reminded recently that by stating this, I am guilty of forgetting what I had hoped to impart with my students– that the language that we use shapes our reality as well as the realities of those who we engage. This reminder makes me rethink what I currently have described regarding this aspect of my thought.
As a result, I am brought to this moment when I am touched by those who I work tirelessly to reach, motivate, inspire, encourage, protect, and empower in order for them to become the women and men that I so passionately believe that can be. I am a hopeless romantic when it comes to my belief that my students are the most precious responsibilities I have beyond my own family. They make me work harder, think more critically, and endure let down after let down with the hopes that one day that the educational opportunities that I know they deserve will be the educational opportunities that they actually experience.
All of these thoughts have streamed through my mind as I have just completed my last class for the semester, here at the university. I have come in contact with students who inspire me by their sheer energy and passion for their respective beliefs when it comes to education and other aspects of the world. They may never know how much they truly mean to me beyond the hard lessons that I have them endure during my class in hopes that they’re better prepared for when those situations present themselves down the road. They are our future leaders and many are currently honing their skills to step into their important roles.
I feel as if they are my responsibilities and I can never let that feeling go because if I did, I would feel like a failure to my calling. My calling is not found in a script or set location. It is more likely as eclectic as my imagination allows me to be through the lives that I am fortunate to encounter each and every semester that I work within the academy.
And as long as I’m fortunate to have students who are willing and able to meet me somewhere in the middle, I will do all that I can to help them get wherever their dreams will take them…
I am honored to have been thought of in any significant way by any of my current or former students. I am glad that I have been, even to a small degree, a positive influence on the lives of such amazing young people. While the job is tough and the hours are often long and lonely, every once in a while something special happens and, for me, it happened when the words of a former student spoke of my influence on her as she presented me with the award below…
While most of the rewards of teaching remain unheralded, I am glad for each and every opportunity that I have to give my best and my all. For all I know, at the time, is that the potentials found within the hearts, minds, and lives of our young people require such sacrifice and patience…