I don’t know about y’all, but it is week two of the school year for myself. Today, I had that moment of truth. Thinking, “I mean really I can sell rocks, or strip, or abandon all my bills and educator goals. I could live freely traveling the world, reading, writing, and reciting poetry and short stories on the street.” To make this truth even more enticing, my work friend had a moment much like mine across the hall. I had to go running after work just to get my head right. Nonetheless, just as I told my friend, I had to take a minute to meditate in the middle of my lesson, and asked God to help me remember my why, or the reason for doing this work.
Why: adverb| for what reason or purpose.
The truth is I love being an educator…mosts days. Then, today, when the students come back from too many vacation days following a summer vacation, it takes them a while to readjust to being students. Well, getting them to adjust is only a fourth of the battle. The other fourths (math is not my subject) is dealing with students who consistently “act out” by speaking when they are not supposed to or openly being defiant, yet disobedience is a special component of the battle when you understand these same students are the ones who need the most love. They are the students who crave attention and discipline. They are the students that will push every button you have because even negative attention is a win. These are also the students who need the most help growing academically. These are also the students who are so afraid of their power, so they don’t want to do any work. Nonetheless, in my moment today, I thought why? Why pull teeth to get students involved in their learning? Why stress myself creating exciting lesson plans and grading papers? Why put myself in position to attempt to combat centuries of mis-education in a failing education system that does not seem to be getting better? For what? For why? Why?
Well for starters, God wouldn’t put more on me than I can bare (1 Corinthians 10:13). Second, when you’ve been called to act on something—anything, you better answer.
Break it down, B:
Teaching is not for everyone. It is not for the weak at heart. It is not for the lazy. It is not for the selfish. Teaching is one of the few professions that will foster spiritual, mental, and physical growth simultaneously. It requires you have patience with yourself and your students. Most importantly it requires you remember your why. Educators, we will have many days when we see no hope. We will see many days when we don’t feel supported. We will see many days where pole dancing and moving weight will seem more fun than standing in front of the students. In those moments, remember if not you, then who? If education is your passion, God called you. If education is your field of choice, chances are you were especially crafted with angel like genetics in order to follow through. If education has always been your dream, it is a part of your purpose to change the life of somebody. It may be that one student who listened that will change the whole world. Furthermore, our children need to witness resilience in person. Who better to model strength, endurance, and love other than you?
So after my prayer, God reminded me of my why. Here it goes: my ancestors got their eyes gauged, fingers and feet cut off, and whipped for attempting to learn how to read. My ancestors withstood many lashes for craving the freedom knowledge brings. The generation that hails currently knows nothing of that reality, and sadly they are slowly creeping back into bondage. I believe if my babies fail, its because no one with a genuine heart was there to teach them. Lastly, God created them, my students, with gifts, talents, and power. They may not be familiar with their light yet, but the least I can do, is show them the switch. What’s your “why”?
- We may not be able to catch them all, but if we reach one our job is accomplished.
- When God called us to action, s/he will not leave us nor forsake us.
- Purpose needs to be your guiding light.
Say: I am here with a purpose. I cannot fail.
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” -James Baldwin
be light. Work your talents. Together we can spark a light pandemic.