The opportunity that we have as teachers is indispensable. The duty that we have is essential. Yet how often do we forget the view point of it as true opportunity and just see a paycheck, or a daily task, or a requirement that must be fulfilled?
On the one hand, there are all the things that have to be done. There are all the rules that must be followed. There are the unpleasant elements to any work. However, those are the byproducts of something else. In truth, there is a much more precious action taking place. Students – small (or big), young (or old), influential human beings are looking to teachers as examples, as models for how to live life.
So, what am I doing? What am I focusing on?
After my first year teaching, this is probably the question that stands out most in my mind. It is the one that all other questions lead to. How can I do more for my students, and focus less on myself?
In a recent exploration of copyright laws for a previous post, I came across some interesting conversations from another blog (HERE). The woman shared her frustration at being copied blatantly and never being given credit for the work she did. Someone else simply passed of her work as their own. One man commented in reply to her that it is about ethics.
What am I doing that teaches my students how to be ethical in their daily choices? What are the other habits that I am teaching them that are beyond what they learn about relating to content? Even the skills they learn according to the standards are tasks that they could learn and carry out quickly if only they had the inspiration and attention to learn. So, really, am I here to walk them through the process of writing a lab report, or am I here to help them navigate the difficulties of leading a life in this world?
It is so easy to get lost in the content, to get lost in the routine, to get lost in my own poor habits. Then what I show every day is an adult who is lost. So, what do the students learn from me? Well, I hope that some might learn from my mistakes. But I imagine that many probably are used to copying without thinking about what they are doing. Does it sound familiar to what they do with assignments? If they do it with something small, then their habit to do it with something big is likely.
Probably the most important tool I have learned so far in the Media Course for my Masters degree is the power of reminding myself that I must hold myself accountable first and foremost with everything I expect my students to do.
If I think about how I learned, well it isn’t too far off from how I teach. And do I want my students to have the same life that I do? Or do I want better for them? I think, just as I have seen my own parents and parents of others, we wish for them to have a life that is better than ours.
So, how will I teach something that is different? How will I not get lost into a hole of meaningless routine?
I write this post as a reminder to myself, as a letter to myself in the future at all moments that I forget how important this “work” is.
Photo Credit on this page:
Apple – Tim Mossholder
Fall – Gratisography.com
Tree – Sean Brown