I wish I had a dollar (inflation from a penny) for every time I felt I wasn’t making a positive contribution to my class. My children are all grown up, but I still have those days when they come home and I am at school. So I know how you feel. I must tell you that I don’t know how you are handling a new child, teaching, and working on your Master’s all at the same time. You deserve a few less than perfect days.
I don’t know what grade level you teach. I teach high school. I have found that even on my bad days, I have contributed positively to some of my students. It amazes me how much baggage they bring to school. Sometimes, the best thing I can do all day is listen to their problems or tell them; “Just turn it in tomorrow.” I’m sure you do the same for your students.
As for your statement about your parents, I think we had a very similar upbringing. I know now that my parents had worries as I grew up, but all I knew was happiness and security. I tried to give that to my children too. To my thinking, if we can make our children and students feel a little more secure and give them helpful critical feedback about their efforts, we are contributing.
Jessica Goodenow: How will I be a contribution today?
Sometimes I feel like I contribute to the world just by showing up for school every day. I am an educator who molds the minds of the future generations. But when I read this chapter, the way I show up is not always a contribution. I am a new mother and find that I do not get the most restful nights of sleep anymore. That means that the next morning, I show up to work with an air of impatience and tiredness. Did I contribute that day? No. The Art of Possibility has made me examine the attitude I put forth every day. It is not just about showing up. It is about making a difference every moment you have. There are some days that I do not want to make a difference. I want to be at home with my adorable 6 month old. I feel that it is on those days that I can make the most of the time I have with students. The days where I don’t want to be there are the days where I have great learning discovered. That makes it all worth it.
How are your thoughts and actions a reflection of the measurement world?
Another reaction I had to the reading was in the belief of the world. How I feel towards certain events in my life have shaped my belief on the world and what it can give me. My parents worked very hard when I was growing up. We always had food on the table and clothes on our back. It might not have been name brand food or clothing, but we were nourished and clothed. Seeing that model of devotion and sacrifice has lead me to try to do the same for my family and for my students. Sacrificing my personal needs for the needs of my daughter is like second nature. In the classroom, I try my best to teach my students work ethic and responsibility. I know that with my students, it will ultimately come down to their home life instilling the values, but I will try to get the ball rolling!