So I've started my new teaching position and we've been in school for just over one week now. My students are great. I've taken some time to get to know each and every student in my classroom, and I cannot even express how must I have enjoyed doing this at the start of the year. It's truly amazing how honest some students are with you -- telling you their life story in just one measly little letter to "Ms. G".
My students are pretty amazing. Some face some of the most hardest life situations outside of school. These are the ones that make my heart hurt and challenge me to see past the mathematics curriculum to the heart of the student sitting right in front of me. And then I have students who will likely never have to face those same situations at such a young age, and I'm jealous of all the neato places in the world where they've already traveled. :)
To keep it simple -- my students are inspiring me. They are inspiring me to be a better leader in the classroom, to really talk and listen with them when they need someone, to not always be so "math" driven every single day of the year. Some are inspiring me to laugh and joke around with them more (likely because they need to relieve the pressure of school) and to just understand what it's like being a high school student.
Wait, that's it. My goal this year is to understand my students. And in turn get them to understand many things -- why they need to continue to pursue education, why we have the classroom/school rules that we have, why it's important to learn how to work with a partner on an assignment. I think that as long as I can understand a student's motivation to act/be however they choose to, only then will I have enough to gain their trust in being their leader, their encourager, and their educator. It's that kind of knowledge and action that fosters the relationships with my students, which in turn has an impact on both the student and myself. An impact that changes things for the better.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, your joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not seek so much
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love with all my being.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
-Prayer of St. Francis