In the spirit of the season, now more than ever, I reflect upon what I believe.
This I believe…
There is good in everyone.
Life is a marathon not a sprint, but the occasional sprint is necessary.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Don’t take no for an answer, and if you do be okay with it.
Surround yourself with people who make you better.
Share more, hug more, love more.
As a teacher who sees hundreds of students walk in and out of the doors of my school, I often wonder what they believe. I wonder how much of what we believe as teachers becomes some of what our students, that we interact with everyday, pick up on and start believing themselves. Everyday we model our behaviors and beliefs. We have the opportunity to model what our students can choose to emulate.
We too, along with our students, walk though the school doors everyday. We can decide before entering what we believe. If we believe that we can make a difference in someone’s life, we must stay true to that belief. Making a positive impact on people around us is what makes people believe they matter.
Angela Maiers @AngelaMaiers has built her career on two simple words: YOU MATTER. She uses the hashtag #YouMatter to promote positivity and the belief that by showing people that they matter something amazing can happen in and out of the classroom. Watch her TEDx talk:
Before entering into your school, pause, reflect, and remember what it is that You Believe.
My “I Believe” is not static. It evolves. It grows. It will #becomebetter everyday.
This I Believe.
Simple. Powerful. #YouMatter and the world needs your contributions. Your belief in all students is so genuine, Melanie! Your schools and our district are so fortunate to have you. Furthermore, I’m grateful for your friendship and ongoing support within our PLN. KOKO -Brendan
This is a super interesting reflection, Melanie, and while I fundamentally agree with it (the beliefs that kids have about their own abilities often ARE a direct reflection of the beliefs that the important adults in their lives have for them), I sometimes wonder if the beliefs that people have for public schools and public school teachers are having the same negative affects/effects on education.
Here’s what I mean: I often feel completely discouraged and beaten down as a classroom teacher. So much of the conversation about public education — particularly here in our state — is filled with criticism. Powerful people — politicians, local radio and television celebrities — suggest that we are nothing but a complete failure. That criticism makes its way into the conversations that I have with parents. They’ve gotten far more aggressive and critical over my 23 years of teaching. I am just as likely to be attacked as complimented by damn near everyone nowadays.
And that’s exhausting. It changes the way that I see my work — and influences my attitude when faced with students who need me to believe in them. Sometimes I feel hopeless — like my hands are tied and I can’t find a way forward. Other times, I feel angry — like why should I bother going the extra mile in the face of both the criticism leveled at me and the impossible circumstances created for me to work within.
I can’t be the only one feeling that way, can I?
And as much as I appreciate efforts to implore me to be positive in spite of the circumstances, the fact of the matter is that the circumstances need to change just as much as I do!
I wonder if people who have moved beyond the classroom see this differently than I do. Is it easier to feel empowered and supported and capable when you move into positions where you have more control over the circumstances of your work life?
And I wonder what implications my own feelings have for people who are going into administration!
(Hint. Hint. Hint. ; )
Enjoyed thinking with you today,
I appreciate your honesty. I do believe we all have our own perspectives as we walk through our school doors. As I am not a classroom teacher, my role as an Instructional Technology Facilitator has a much different perspective. I feel a huge part of my positivity is being sheltered from negativity from outside sources. When I am in contact with parents it is mostly positive. Also, I’m not evaluated on how well students score on standardized tests. I am able to do my work without being judged or criticized. I see amazing teachers everyday continue to walk through the school doors with their heads held high no matter what negativity surrounds them. They, as you, have made a decision to stay in the classroom to teach children, our future, everyday. I applaud that.
I also believe there are amazing administrators out there who support their teachers and help them feel empowered to have control over the “circumstances of their work life”. I hope someday, if administration is my path, that I listen to voices like yours and can provide that support.
The bottom line is we all have choices. We all have a voice. We all can make a difference. I work hard to help teachers in their classrooms everyday. I love my job and if I didn’t, I’d look for a new one. Life is too short not to be happy.
Looking forward to more conversations like this Bill.
Melanie – I really enjoyed this post. I, too, believe that we all have choices to make. I think that our students deserve our best at all times. We need to show them that we believe in each of them as individuals and that they matter. Thanks for your post!
Thanks Jesse for your comment. I know you always put your students first. Thank you!
Awesome reflection! I too believe there is good in everyone (although it may be difficult to see at times). I also believe “life is a marathon not a sprint, but the occasional sprint is necessary.” I’m going to add that quote to my repertoire 😉 don’t worry, I’ll give you credit. I strongly believe our beliefs and experiences shape the environment we create. That environment exponentially impacts our students. It takes a mindset shift and as much positive influence as we can muster to get everyone in our respective building on the same page. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Looking forward to reading more.
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