I teach to change the world, not just in the future, but today. When our children are young we teach them to be accepting, to tolerate everyone’s differences, and appreciate everyone for who they are. Why is it that often when kids come to school we forget the power of individuality and instead try to turn all kids into what we think they should be? We try to create kids who can read our minds, follow our orders, obey instead of decide, listen instead of think, and conform into miniature images of ourselves.
As educators we have a very difficult job. We are charged with the task of helping kids learn the skills to become successful adults. We have the responsibility to instill in them the traits that will help them thrive in a world that is yet to be established. We do a disservice to them though when we begin to expect them to be small adults already. We lose sight of the fact that they are kids today, because we get so fixated on the fact that they will be adults in the future.
Working in a school is a real treat. I honestly believe being an educator is better than any other job available. We are able to become experts in a content, yet teach kids, not a subject. Today though, in a lot of schools, we lose sight of our kids and are asked to have a narrow focus on content. As a result we lose sight of our vision and begin to lose our passions. When we expect kids to have the world figured out and to know how to thrive in the world already we are discounting our role in their lives. We are needed because they do not know how to find success yet. We are needed because they do not have all of the answers. If we expect the kids in our rooms to know how to be respectful, how to be investigative, how to be novel, how to be curious, how to be passionate, how to be composed, how to be charismatic, how to be diligent, how to be thoughtful, how to be humble, then they do not need us.
You are all needed, because the kids we teach are imperfect creatures. You are needed to help guide and instruct. You are needed to model and coach. Our job is to lead, not to judge. Our job is to inform, not to critique.
I have said countless times that students will always live up to our expectations if they know what our expectations are. I believe this to be true. Now it’s our job to continue to provide the guidance on how to meet those expectations and to continue to raise the bar so that all kids can thrive. We need to look at every child and assume they have the best of intentions. We need to believe in our hearts that every child has a desire to do what is right and to find success. When you find yourself losing faith because of all of the other pressures being pushed upon you, when you feel like you are losing focus, stop, look at a child, assume the good and doubt the bad. That is why we do what we do.