“Where there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
– Frederick Douglass
During my early years as an educator, I had the privilege of working alongside a colleague with over 20+ years in the system working at the same school for the duration of his career. He shared a word of wisdom that has stayed with me my entire career that I often share with others. He said to me that when I feel I get to the point where I no longer need to learn anything to better myself professionally then I should retire. I never forgot that. The best decision, looking back, I felt I made transitioning back into the classroom was embracing the thought of accepting I was a first year teacher having to relearn what it meant to be a classroom teacher. Though it was a tremendous mental and emotional adjustment initially, the struggle paid off accepting the reality of how I felt and learning to be patient with the process in my effort to make progress.
Over the past 3-4 years I started applying the principles of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Teens) by authors Sean Covey and Stephen Covey. I started adopting operating principles I desired to live by to encounter the success I desired while working with youth in the field of education. One such principle I embraced was being inspirational. The past 2 years before returning to the classroom in 2010, I was voted Most Inspirational staff member by the SGA students of the high school I worked for before returning to middle school to teach art. I would search for meaningful quotes or bible verses to share with those I came into contact with to be a source of encouragement to affect positive change. One such mantra I lived by last year and inspired others to follow was Ghandi’s quote, “Be the change you want to see.” Focus to finish strong was another mantra I embraced to keep myself and others motivated during the long arduous task of working through March with no holidays prior to Spring Break and beyond.
My current operating principles are progress, success and prosperity. A bible verse that comes to my mind related to the subject of focus to finish strong would be Colossians 3:1-2 NIV. “Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” The bible’s perspective of the Christian educator is reinforcing the principle of maintaining a spiritual focus and perspective from heaven that influences the follower of Christ to operate in a way pleasing to God and productive in what God requires of them to do well as a classroom teacher. If being an educator truly is about my success at managing people as well as being innovative with instruction then what greater principle to seek to operate by than that of love. Where there is no struggle to love, there is no progress in love, because God is love from heaven’s perspective.
May God equip you with His love and enable you to operate with wisdom by the principle of love and be empowered by love to teach, influence and inspire learning.