“A gentleman would not offend me and someone who is not a gentleman cannot offend me.”
– Frederick Douglass
I believe that the true meaning of prosperity is the positive outcome I receieve personally in return for the work I produce or the work produced through me. I say this because yesterday evening I experienced the outcome of what I believe prosperity to mean to me. A professional colleague who has known me from the time I have transitioned back into the classroom and talked with me intimately about the struggle said yesterday, ‘You look so rested and at peace. You even seem to have a glow about you.’ The more he talked the more I smiled and appreciated, even more, how I was feeling on the inside! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! The prosperity I felt from the labor of striving to get back to the place I call spiritual/professional equilibrium in how I operate within my classroom has been achieved from the standpoint of maintaining a consistent positive attitude about going to work and returning to the classroom. I told my mom last night, after work, what was said and to my colleague and my mother I expressed that it was grace and God alone that made this possible for me! it is my personal miracle and I enjoy every moment of how I feel right now.
So what did you decide? Would you prefer to be liked as a classroom teacher or respected? As I write, I understand you will not always get either from every student, but if I am respected my ability to influence stretches wider across the scope of my classroom then being liked. Agree or disagree? Also, I believe if I operate from the disposition of being respected I am less vulnerable to the sway of emotions, attitudes and behaviors that occur within a classroom. Plus, if my goal is to be respected and I understand what I would need to do in order to gain and earn someone’s respect it will challenge me more to consider how to conduct myself consistently with all of my students, including those who are challenging to me. I believe in managing people, love and/or respect, are the 2 greatest principles one could operate in, because they are 2 principles that focus on the well-being of the one as the recipient of the actions of the principle in action. Like suggests, or connotates, having something in common that usually is related to emotion/feeling more than substance, or is based more on me than the recipient with regard to how they’re treating me or behaving that benefits me.
I am learning to separate better the deed from the doer and maintain a consistent healthy level of respect and like for my students that allows me to engage them and treat each of them with the appropriate forms of grace, mercy, kindness and love necessary to motivate them to cooperate and contribute positively within my classroom. Every day is not necessarily a Friday in each of my classes, but currently every day feels like a Friday to me. Thanks Joel Osteen!(lol)
May God help you and bless you to operate with love and respect in a manner that will increase your ability to motivate your students to help you teach, influence and inspire learning.