Our world is constantly changing and that is nothing new. Seasons change. Generations change. The earth changes. People change. Nothing stays the same. Since the beginning of time we have been changing and that is a good thing. Most of the time change is subtle and we hardly even notice. Sometimes change is more dramatic and more noticeable and it rocks us back on our heels.
This week we have experienced a piece of that dramatic change. For the first time in eight years we have a new president to lead our country. No matter what your politics might be, that is a fact. We have change in our midst.
I must admit that I had grown comfortable with the way things were and had settled in to a comfort zone of sorts thinking that I kind of knew what to expect. So, with the swearing in of a new president, I had been rocked back on my heels a bit because with such a change there is uncertainty. The only certainty ahead of us is that there will be more change. So, I looked around for a little bit of inspiration and encouragement and it was quite easy to find.
The first place I found inspiration and encouragement was in a blog post which suggests that vocabulary is a powerful thing. Elizabeth Moore reminded me that even though there are lots of things we cannot control in the classroom, one thing we can control is the language we use. Moore encouraged learners that we have choices and those choices are at the heart of learning and growing. So, I’m planning to try to make choices in the language I use with teachers and students to encourage them to realize they have choices for growing and learning as well.
Another place I found inspiration and encouragement was in a quote from Andy Rooney. Happiness is something we all strive for whether we recognize it or not. Melissa at 320 Sycamore used Rooney’s words to offer up Courage for the Week. In essence, it says that if we base our happiness or unhappiness on major events, we are not going to be happy much of the time. However, if we base our happiness on the simple necessities and pleasures in life, we will live with quite a bit of happiness. So, I’m trying to look for the simplistic things in life to enjoy and celebrate their pleasures.
The next place I found inspiration and encouragement was right under my nose. Students at one of our elementary schools right here in the district are steadily posting to their student created newsblog. One of the students had crafted an encouraging piece suggesting How to be a Hero. It is powerful and it is inspiring and it truly proclaims that each of us has the opportunity to be a hero. So, I’m reminding myself that I need to continue doing the right thing, to be respectful, and to be that someone who others can trust.
And finally, another place I found inspiration and encouragement is a post which really resonated as I was searching for a way to honor one of our country’s former leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr. I landed on a post which started with the powerful quote featured at the beginning of this post. I may not always embrace change even though I know that change is inevitable and constant. As public school teachers we are certainly in the business of doing for others. Our paycheck comes from the contribution of tax dollars. While we don’t get to choose lots of things about our classroom, we do get to choose the language we use to guide and encourage student learning. Teaching and learning is all about courage and taking risks and changing from who we are and what we know and how we do things toward growing and maturing and becoming more. Sometimes it is just the simplest thing that makes all the difference in our teaching and in our learning and that should be celebrated and bring about happiness. The words of young writers certainly emphasize the importance of being a model for them. They remind us that we are heroes in some ways whether it is intentional or not. They remind us that we are being observed always and it is important to walk the walk and talk the talk for those students and one another. As public school teachers we are Architects of Change each and every day and maybe part of what we also need to do is share with students ideas about how another person took something that was being set aside as useful and make it serve another purpose. In this day and age when we are constantly bombarded by change and frequently rocked back on our heels by change, sometimes we feel just a little bit lost. This week I was reminded by the words of Mahatma Ghandi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
I always have been and continue to be fortunate, grateful, and proud to be an American citizen. As teachers in our country’s public school system, let us not forget that we are a service professional and we are preparing our students to take care of our world and of us in the future. That is a huge responsibility and we handle that responsibility in our ever changing world with the most simplistic and often overlooked ways that we go about doing our job.