Make a Profound Impact New School Employees
“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” Will Durant
My first guest teaching assignment was something out of a storybook. After thirty years of searching for a purpose driven life, my reason for being on earth seemed clear that day. Finally, I got it right with God. It was my birthday and I had prayed the night before for a picture of the class to document that moment in time.
A young girl approached me, as I sat writing a note to the primary teacher explaining my day with her art students from Indianapolis School #44. A Polaroid Instamatic camera hanging from her neck contained two slides of film. She asked to take my picture for her scrapbook. I responded, “Only if the one I take of the class is a good one, because if not, I need the second shot as well.” And to my surprise she simply said, “OK.” I remember thinking, “This teaching thing is going to work. You tell them what you want and they just do it. Psych.
What followed in the days to come often resembled a good dream gone bad. What could have possibly gone wrong? The best way to explain it may be to look for what went right in my earlier classroom experience. I managed to tap into a positive vibe the morning of my first teaching assignment. My expectations were so high that even my words aligned with the very thing I wanted to happen. I confessed, “
Today I will take all of my life experiences with me and produce a great first day of school. My mood, thoughts and actions create the weather of my classroom.
I understand that everyone comes into the building with their own set of issues, so I’ll greet each child with a warm smile and comforting handshake to ease fears of separation. I believe in my ability to be sensitive when needed. My response in all situations determines whether I am in control of a crisis. A child’s dignity will always be in my forefront. My confidence to lead these young people has been crafted from years of living life, learning from the master leaders who have gone before me, and if all else fails – I am a Marine.”
You may not have a military background that precedes your first day as a schoolteacher but if you take on the challenge of earning the title of “Teacher” you will without a doubt go to war long before entering your classroom. One thing I realized from the start was that our battles in education are more spiritual that anything else. Maybe that’s the revelation churches had in the beginning of American education.
Understanding the source of your children’s academic challenges is the beginning of improved classroom management and living with less stress as a teacher. Progress in the development of humanity as we know it is depending on your ability to teach young people how to become better problem solvers for themselves. But, how can we teach problem solving skills if we ourselves are limited to managing minute-by-minute classroom situations. Pointing the finger at parents, students and administration won’t solve the problem, trust me.
When you are given the key to your classroom you are symbolically grasping the cornerstone key to unlocking the minds of decision making far greater than those you will be held accountable for on your school’s AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress).
Coach John Wooden wrote, “Success is a peace of mind, in knowing you’ve done your best, to become the very best that you are capable of becoming.”
This quote, jumpstarted change in my thinking process. Helping students and myself to gain understanding of this wise knowledge over the years has made a profound impact on the hearts and minds of those I teach.
None of it could have been accomplished had I not learned to eliminate stress of the unknown by monitoring the words I spoke. Creating a confession of the thing I wanted to happen instead of what I was seeing. Recognizing each child to be an individual being of thoughts, emotions and physical makeup made teaching personal. Then redefining what I thought to be success by the renewing of my mind, to know that I know I am in a constant state of being the very best I can be. And best of all is confidence of knowing my students are modeling their teacher. Who said you can have whatever you like?
Copyright © 2009 | LaRon A. Carter “The Guest Teacher”
P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (just below this article) to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Then encourage family and friends by sharing this blog address and invite others to subscribe so we get a chance to connect as well. Just send them to https://laroncarter.wordpress.com where they can bookmark or subscribe to the page. Feel free to direct message me on Twitter @laroncarter or connect on http://laroncarter.com.