As I am ending my seventh professional summer in stride, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on some good, great, and OFF-DA-CHAIN moments from my teaching past. I also want to reflect on some bad, stupid, and cray cray.
I always wanted to become the teacher I never had. The typical “You make a difference because you are a GUY” assertions are shallow, lame, and not representative of me. I don’t care if you are a flippin’ cardboard box, I’ve learned an eternal truth about education --> Be the most interesting thing in the room. Care about others. Be the change you wish to see.
After seeing, *ERHERM* admiring, Ron Clark and the world-changing things going on in that universe lately, I recollect that I was the table-standing-and-walking, toe-crushing, loud-mouth, emotionally-driven teacher that I see in the infographics throughout the internet, pamphlets, and blog-happenings. Here lately, I have been feeling like the produce that has seen better days –flaccid, wilted, and recessed. What gives dude!?!
GOOD – I remember walking into my first school year with lint in my pockets, two Salvation Army collared shirts that were faded and torn, loose pants, and a pallet of blankets for a bed in my new $300/month apartment. I was hungry to make a difference. I was naïve. I was unstoppable. </s>I knew everything.</s>
GREAT – I can recollect surviving (BY THE SKIN OF MY TEETH) my second year teaching in a co-teaching model for two parts of my day. Out of continued bitterness (pray4me), I will only leave you with this:
I remember praying for legions of angels to deliver me (Matthew 26:53).
***Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?*** (Basically, God help me survive this situation.)
OFF-DA-CHAIN – Being voted and recognized for TOTY in 2016 was a humbling experience. I didn’t deserve it. I have walked, and continue to walk, by teachers that have forgotten more in the last fifteen minutes than I will ever know. Parents, teachers, kids, family, administrators, all took the time to lift me up, and for that I am eternally grateful and vindicated.
BAD – I REALLY took this past year for granted. I put a precedent and priority in being a better teacher than a custodian of the relationships that I have been blessed with. I felt like ATLAS this past year, world on back, knees buckling under the pressure. Note to self – Remember what your fourth grade teacher said…Wait…I don’t remember her. Note to self – Be the most interesting person in the room, but also be compassionate and empathetic to your students, fellow-employees, admin, and family. They need you.
STUPID – I started to forget where I came from this past year. I became the following: arrogant, BUSY, robotic, selfish, competent, graduated, and sure. Note to self – When you become these things, CHECK YO SELF BEFO’ YOU WRECK YOSELF. Name one teacher that had it all together. If you know of someone, hit me on email at email@example.com
CRAY CRAY - I forgot about the community. I forgot that I live and work in the village that raises the chil’ren. I isolated myself. I became more about ME than the TEAM, and for that… I deserve shame. “I” is a dangerous word. Note to self: It ain’t about you fool. Your colleagues deserve better. You a carpenter or a member of the cold water committee? Where did you come from fool?
In conclusion, I think that like some genius once said, “Innovation is the mother of all invention.” It’s time to go on a pride-diet. Actually, I need to avoid pride PERIOD. It’s time to innovate and go back to the basics. Why did you become a teacher? What moments will define you as a teacher? How full is everyone’s bucket? How’s the custodianship of your relationships going? What is the change that you wish to see? Are you that change? BASIC training, we go.
The greatest teacher I ever had – failure. What to do? Eyes-up, knees-down, mouth-shut, arms-open, ears-dumbo, heart-broken, plankless-eyes is the prescription for this professional affliction.
-Bada Bing Badaboom - Realest Guy in the Room, BOWTIEGUY
REAL RECOMMENDATION: “Jails and Bombs” – Amos Lee
James & Dana
A husband and wife teacher team who love integrating social studies and science into other subjects for diverse elementary classrooms.
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