“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”– Philippians 2:5 NIV
Last night in reflection upon my jounrey as an educator and my recent transition back into the classroom being absent the past 10 years, I discovered the success of my reentry began with a change in my attitude. When I left the classroom initially, I did not intend on returning and did not anticipate the reality of the probability. While wrestling with an alarming increase in student misconduct and student apathy towards learning, I also realized a greater part of my struggle in my transition back into the classroom would be my frustration in making the journey backwards. Greater than the normal challenges that come with being a classroom teacher was the huge mental paradigm shift I would need to make in accepting the way in which God was leading me in a direction I had no desire or intention in taking. What made it such a struggle was leaving the position I had for the past 10 years outside the classroom in the Office of Peer Mediation working with youth to help them resolve their conflicts with other students and sometimes challenges that presented themselves that were not directly student-student related. I had to let go of the past success in order to fully embrace and be successful in where God was leading me. Simply, I had to humble myself and accept where I was going and relinquish the past, my frustrations and my pride to God.
This reflection last night was stimulated by the current success I have achieved in letting go and allowing God to help me progress in my desire to recapture the joy of being a classroom teacher and reclaim the confidence and comfort level of being an educator I was familiar with when I first began teaching. This success is a personal miracle for me, because I could not see myself enduring as an educator in the classroom without the joy (passion) for teaching I knew I once had. In my discussion with a group of professional colleagues in education during a Cooperative Discipline workshop Thursday evening I suggested that teachers were not informed that being an educator is as much about being a successful manager of people as it is about drafting innovative lesson plans. I told them, in my classroom, behavior is as much a priority attributing to success as the work they produce. Without appropriate conduct, work performance and the atmosphere of the classroom production diminishes. Understanding this even more 19 years later, my challenge is influencing the greater majority of my students to take full responsibility for managing their own behavior consistently in a positive way to allow me the freedom to teach, influence and inspire learning as often as possible.
This becomes the priority and challenge for me if my goal is to have my students demonstrating autonomy and self-control. My disposition towards my students would be crucial to achieve the goal I desire for them within my classroom. In order to achieve this I made reflection about who I was as an educator early in my career and strived to embrace that same attitude in order to recapture that joy. Since the bible teaches in Ephesians that our struggles are not against flesh and blood, it was understood that student misconduct is not the true source of my frustration in my return to the classroom. The true struggle, or enemy, is my disposition to what is required of me in order to experience the success God will give me to recapture the joy if I humble myself and accept where I am currently in my faith walk and my professional journey. The same God who raised the dead can help me recapture my joy. Is there anything too hard for God?
May God help you and bless you to be renewed in faith, strength and joy so you can focus to finish strong this school year and succeed in your aspirations to teach, influence and inspire learning.