A letter to fellow teachers


You must have passion to inspire passion – passion about your subject and passion about the students whom you teach.  That is just the beginning of inspiring students.  What you will soon come to find out, though, is that the passion for your students will begin to trump anything else.  You will find yourself doing whatever you can to help them be successful, whether it’s designing an engaging lesson, creating non-traditional tests, or just giving them emotional support in all their endeavors.  If you truly want to inspire your students to learn, you must first allow them to inspire you.  You must be inspired by their tenacity to come to school when they have no parental support.  You must be inspired by their imagination and humor.  You must be inspired by the possible future that lies within each student.  Once you are inspired, you will stop at nothing to return the favor.  The relationship you build and the care you show will cause them to love you and the learning you give them.  Teaching is a profession that blesses you with the opportunity to become a part of others’ lives.  This is a great and noble task, and one that will seem less and less like a job and more and more like a privilege. If you want to motivate and inspire students, let them motivate and inspire you.  See them as human beings with whom you have been given the chance to make a difference in their lives.  See them as who they will be one day.  Then show them your vision.  Your greatest teaching tool in inspiring students is opening the door and letting them see the possibilities of what can be. 

We now interrupt this program…

My satellite is out.  So last night I had to catch shows I normally DVR in “real time.”  It killed me.  I had to sit through every commercial.  I tried to find things to do: I grabbed a book, I found a crossword puzzle.  As I was agonizing waiting for the deodorant/car/coffee ad (pick one- I didn’t pay attention) to be over, I was upset at how I was a slave to the timeslot.  I couldn’t choose when to watch these shows.  What if I’d rather be on the computer or playing with my kid? (The former being more likely.)  Then I realized it wasn’t too long ago (before DVR) that I scheduled around the TV shows I liked to watch.  I made sure I was in front of the TV at 8:00 on Thursdays to catch ER.  I thought about what a waste that was to be a slave to a TV timeslot and not have the ability to pick when to watch – when was convenient for me. 


The only thing that’s really scheduled in my life has to so with school-related activities or sports: football, soccer, PTA meetings, etc.  Oh, and church (it’s reliably always on Sunday mornings.)  I’m even in online classes where I get to pick when to work on the assignments, with a deadline, of course.  Everything’s on my time, when I want to do it.


Interestingly enough, I’m also reading a great book, The Year of Living Biblically, about a man who tries to obey every Biblical law.  Talk about being a slave to time.  He has to do certain things in the morning, certain things the first of every month, etc. 


Then I realized that maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all to have something that requires your attention at a certain time, especially God-related things. I choose when to pray, for example, but maybe I should have a dedicated time slot each day to do so – a time I choose not to let my selfish desires take over, a time I give up on my plans and do something scheduled, something important.  Other things in life could fall in this category: play time with my kids, date night with my husband, bubble baths (which could actually fall in both previous categories).


Maybe in this unstructured, free-for-all world we live in we need timeslots.  I love my freedom, but sometimes I need to be reminded that it’s not all about me.