November 13, 2013
I began writing a blog entry earlier this evening, but stopped short. This is the post I was meant to write.
The current state of affairs in both local and national education has been the impetus for my re-thinking both my teaching skills and my teaching altogether. Decisions, decisions, decisions. And then just like that (snap*), God sends you an angel. After a bit of a dry spell, today’s blog post is in honor of my angel, MW.
MW and I go back to the 7th grade together; that’s when my family and I moved to Holbrook, AZ. I won’t tell you MW’s age, but you know mine 😉 So, I’m on my way to work this morning and I get a message from MW. She is sending me a link to a blog that she believes I will like and appreciate. I message her back that I will check it out. And I did, finally.
I have seriously been questioning the type of teacher I am. I am unconventional, to say the least. However, with the ‘rigorous’ curriculum, the rapid pace and the ever-present tests, unconventional doesn’t seem to be such a good fit for my students. I am afraid I am doing them a disservice by not preparing them for the test, but rather, preparing them to learn.
If the end all is for my students to pass standardized, benchmarked, bubble-marked, district assessments, then I am doing them a disservice. In all of my hubris, I thought I was doing right by my students. “Could I be that wrong?” I have been asking myself these past few weeks. Sadly, I came close to uttering, “Yes, I am wrong,” several times in the past two days. “I could do more good in a different capacity within education,” I began to think. Thank goodness for God and His angels.
As I relaxed for the evening, I remembered the link MW had sent me earlier in the day. It was such a gift. Although the rest of the blog is well worth the read, it was yesterday’s post of Mike Sissel’s blog KaleidoEye that MW chose to share with me http://kaleidoeye.com/blog/
She couldn’t have known that it was exactly what I needed to read, or perhaps she could. Doesn’t matter, she is my angel today.
Mr. Sissel writes about qualities of “our favorite teacher(s)”. And although being someone’s favorite teacher is nice, it is the “Why” that catches my attention. “Because this person more than likely influenced you on an emotional level as a result of the powerful energy they created in the classroom.” That’s the kind of teacher I want to be, I strive to be I am to be (not proper grammar, I assure you, but just go with it!).
I’m thinking that I’m doing wrong by my students, and my angel drops in my lap a message, I know, from God. I am doing more for my students by being unconventional, if you will, because what I leave with them, will transfer to others, and they’ll transfer it to others and pretty soon, I will be the teacher who taught the students who changed the world. Mr. Sissel likens this to the “ripple effect”, which measures the level of influence we have on others”. I would like to believe that my “ripple effect” is gracious and overflowing. And maybe, just maybe, it is.
On September 27th of this year, ironically, my birthday, I received the best gift a teacher can ever hope for. I received a lengthy e-mail from a former student I taught while in the Middle East. This young lady was writing to tell me how sorry she was because she was under the impression that she had hurt me in some small way, or at least I saw it as small thing; she, however, did not. By the tone and the angst of her email, I could tell that she had been bothered by this slight she believed she had dealt me.
In the e-mail, she made it clear that she loved me as a teacher and she would never forget me. And I believe her. She is part of my “ripple effect”. She is now a student at a university in Egypt, studying to be an engineer. What I transferred to her will ripple throughout the world. And sooner than you think, my student will begin her own ripple, probably already has. And all it took was for me to do one of the things that I do best: teach.
So, there you have it, dear readers; I will be the teacher who teaches the students who change the world. God knew it all along, he sent me an angel. Peace, ~v.