"The greater danger of most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."Michelangelo
— AverageTriGirl.com (@AverageTriGirl) April 15, 2013
I read the above Tweet today and I liked it. [Funny to say, "I got a Tweet." We used to say, "Got a phone call or got an email or got a postcard or got a letter." Now I have 8th graders that own $300 phones but they don't know how to address an envelope. That isn't funny.] My favorite coach has been known to say, after a loss that was the fault of his own team, "Well, we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory." That always makes me laugh [mostly because I think he is so funny...I'm hopelessly in love with the man] but so many times that is true. We lower our standards, our expectations, ourselves. [And yes, that "we" most definitely includes me. You know me well enough to know that I am not throwing stones at anyone (because throwing rocks is just mean). 99% of the time, I am talking about my own faults, failures, and flops. Sometimes, even flip flops. Yes. I am random.]
If you know me, then hopefully you know that I love teaching. I love the kids, I love my colleagues, and I love science [yes, I am a dork]. I will be honest, though, I am slightly more than frustrated with education these days. [Getting on soapbox]:
1. I am up to my eyeballs [that is not a hyperbole...yeah, I can use big words correctly] with stuff to do that does NOT involve teaching. Just let me teach. Stop filling up every single work day with more to do. Give me time to plan and collaborate with my colleagues.
2. Don't tell say that you are "too busy" to help with something. There are very few people [and I do mean very few] people that are any busier than me. [No, I am not looking for your kudos and praises...just being honest.]
3. Teach the value of education, to everyone. Education isn't just about the book smarts. Education is finding something that you like and jumping in, feet first. Yes, as teachers, we can bore you to tears [sometimes I want to cry too] and I promise, I am working so hard not to be "that" teacher. There are endless possibilities for every single person to find their strengths but with those endless possibilites come obstacles, stumbling blocks, and yes, WORK. I hate to go all cliche and "Little House on the Prairie" on you but when I was growing up, I valued a challenge at school. I wanted to know the how and why. Today it's just about giving the answers and moving on to the next assignment. There is not much desire to be challenged anymore - by children and adults. That makes being an educator doubly difficult. It's like a wicked trick - Take this kid far beyond their potential but you'll have to do it without much effort on their part. [Not to be overly cynical but, if the shoe fits...] By the way, we're going to penalize you when you don't jump through all of these hoops, [many of which you've never seen because they are still at the hoop factory being changed because we love kicking a dead horse], so make doubly sure you are waving that magic wand over every student.
[Can you sense my frustration?]
4. Too many cracks [yes, when you are teaching middle school that can be a problem but not the kind of cracks I was speaking about - more like metaphorical cracks] and we are losing students in them. The "Just Enough to Get By" crack is popular [and I am not talking necessarily just about the students...if we teach like this then students pick up pretty easily] and wide open. The "I Just Want to Know the Answer" chasm [yep, that is how it is spelled]. North Carolina's personal favorite, "You Need to Know this For the Test" blackhole. ["I just took a multiple choice test and used a bubble sheet at work today," said no one ever.] And one that I hear all the time, the "Do we Have to do This?" abyss. I could go on [my sarcasm knows no end] but I will spare you the details. It takes everyone involved in the lives of our children to keep them out of the cracks [and off the crack...and keep their cracks covered because "ain't nobody got time for that"].
5. Teach compassion. Please. My heart aches for people that are treated poorly. Growing up is hard enough. Help when you see another in need. What a blessing you gain from lending a hand. Why wouldn't you want to blessed by God? We live in such an incredibly selfish world and we are teaching our children to be selfish and self-centered. [Look no further than Twitter my friends...] I have been told I am a bleeding heart to which I answer, "Thank you." James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." We are commanded in scripture to take care of each other. In Matthew 25: 31-40 we see that God is commanding us to step it up and help others, no matter their circumstances.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
We must teach our children to take care of each other. That is imperative.
[I am now going to put the soapbox back. I have said enough.]
It's no wonder my blood pressure is up. Frustrated. I am going to bed.
As always, no matter what happens, I know my God is in control. He wants me to know that he loves me and He has me in His hands. I just need to give it all to him and He will carry that burden for me.
Life is just good with God...always.