You might be wondering why I have titled this post as such. I have to say that I feel that life is a collection of experiences. I believe that the experiences that make up life, both good and bad, are necessary to mold, shape, develop and stabilize us, in a life that continues to change. I have hard many people speak to the idea that the only consistent thing in life is change. Tragedy is never a welcomed event, but one thing is certain, it is in the challenges of life that we become better, stronger, better equipped and more vigilant. As educators I believe that we have a great task on our hands.
Being a doctoral student, one thing I have become very familiar with is turning the page, due to the great amount of reading that is necessary to learn and grow. We might then compare life to a book. We might say that the pages of the book reflect days in our lives, or perhaps the experiences that shape us continually to not become complacent, or satisfied. Sometimes it is a difficult thing to turn the page. It takes strength. It takes courage. It takes forward thinking. It takes a certain drive to persist amidst the vicissitude of recent days. Our hearts hurt, yes, because we are human beings, full of emotion, trying to piece things together to see the complete picture. Does it all make sense to me? Certainly I do not have all of the answers, but one thing I do know; it is important that we turn the page. Let’s not stay here.
I think that times like these remind me as an educator, several things:
- Be better.
- Be genuine.
- Be an example.
- Be a light.
One of the lessons I use in the classroom on a daily basis challenges my students to be better. Though there is nothing wrong with being average, I challenge their mindsets to not settle for average or status quo. I ask “What stands out about you?” or “What will people notice when they look at you?” It’s easy to blend in with the crowd, but why not take that extra step and be authentic? For a student, that might mean instead of asking me certain questions, he or she seeks after that knowledge using available resources. I think the same applies for me as the educator. Once I stop learning, then I am limited in the knowledge I am able to pass on to my students. So as an educator, I am always reading or involving myself in some sort of development, to continue to be better.
Genuine to means that I really care when I say that I do. Or perhaps, I demonstrate what I say with my mouth. I know we have all experienced a let down or two in life, perhaps even more than that, however, imagine how you would felt if you knew, by word and deed, that the person acting on your behalf, was genuine. Would you invest more, trust more, engage more, when you know that the individual truly cares about you? Educators just might be the bridge that takes a student from one side of the water to the other. An educator might be the reason that a student decides to care more about what and how they do. An educator might be the reason why gaps are filled and support is felt by not only students, but families.
I am all about setting a positive example.An example is a visual representation of the possibilities. As a visual model, we provide the hope that students can learn and grow and develop to do whatever they are interested in. There is no limit to the learning that can occur, when we are the example. Does that mean that every educator needs to hold advanced degrees? In my opinion, not necessarily, however it does mean that teachers can demonstrate what it means to seize opportunities and show kids that things can be attained. I am grateful for the creative and artistic talents that I have as well as my time as a uniformed service member of the US Air Force. These strong skills come into the classroom with me every day. In addition, the idea that I am a doctoral student provides an example to students that you can do anything and the greatest limits are ourselves.
What is light? Light is the absence of darkness. Light and darkness cannot exist in the same place, in its natural sense. Darkness may be described as any place where there is no hope, concern, care or love. It may just mean that someone needs another to care. As educators, I believe that we are the catalysts for change. I believe that we can bring light into dark places. Considering recent events and things that happen in all of our lives, what a immense opportunity lies before us. We can be the reason that our students pursue the proper path with persistence. We can be the reason why students keep trying when things may not always go as planned. We, the educators can be light to paths that are dimly lit or dark. We potentially can be the reason why someone turns the page.