As a Teacher Thinketh

Does it matter what a teacher thinks about himself or herself? Life? Desire? Education? Students? Change? Technology? Does how a teacher thinks have any impact on the way that his or her students think? Is there an opportunity to challenge the status quo that can be capitalized on?

Well if you said yes to any one of these, then you are already thinking about the way you think and considering the relevance that we are who we are based on what and how we think. You can tell a student “You are the best and the brightest,” long enough that even though he or she may not have believed in at the onset, it stirs the thinking out the child, whether consciously or subconsciously, and it becomes a belief system. Not only does it become a belief system, identification as such, is due to the associated action. As the phrase goes, actions do speak louder than words. What would change if we considered the following, given credit to several well-known thinkers (including: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, Frank Outlaw, teacher Gautama Buddha, and the father of Margaret Thatcher):

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Or in a more reformed structure by Bishop Beckwaith in 1885,

“Plant a thought and reap a word;
plant a word and reap an action;
plant an action and reap a habit;
plant a habit and reap a character;
plant a character and reap a destiny.”

Here is my point in all of this: I believe that as educators we are the change-drivers and in order to turn that into action, we must first believe that we have what it takes to make change happen. Can change happen when we are unwilling to change? Will our students experience a change when we continue to do things the way that they have always been done? If we continue to think like we have always thought, will action and change erupt? I believe that it through experiences, learning and reflection that we are challenged to think and therefore act differently. We create the existence we live in by the way we think. I’ll end this with a quite by Steve Jobs, “Here’s to the crazy ones — the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” It all starts with a thought.

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