My biggest challenge as an educator has been feeling inadequate as a mother because my work takes me from my children. This past school year began with me presenting a staff development session. Prior to presenting, I received a video text from my eight year old son. Here is the two second video:
He melted my heart! At that moment I felt so loved and I immediately began feeling the guilt of not being home with him. But then I caught myself. My little guy was not miserable. He was well-cared for. He just wanted to send me a loving text message. I immediately added the short video clip to my presentation and I started my presentation with my “Why.” Luke’s text was a reminder that I leave very precious people at home every day for a job that I believe is very important. This message resonated with other teachers. Some began to tear up.
The truth is we all leave people and hobbies that are important to us to come to work in schools because we feel called to make a difference. That is why I think it is crucial that we use our time at school to make the most impact we can. It’s not worth our time to leave our treasured people to just put in time to get paid, but it is of value to impact students’ lives who will someday be the leaders and creators in the world that we and our loved ones live in.
Our impact begins with our mindsets as educators. A week ago I was home with those precious people in my life and I viewed a video titled “One Phrase to Stop the Fizzle” by A.J. Juliani. He suggested changing “have to” to “get to” whenever thinking about tasks at home or at work. Wow! Those words were what I needed to hear at that very moment. The day I watched the video, I was home on Spring Break. Spring Break offers time for me to read, rest, relax, exercise, and spend time with some of my favorite people. Usually I enjoy my time home so much that I dread going back to work because of my parenting guilt and negative thoughts of all the work ahead, but after viewing the video I challenged myself not to let that guilt and negative mindset to sneak back into my thoughts and to now see my work through the “get to” lens.
I get to work with remarkable students every day. I get to work with colleagues from diverse backgrounds. I get to be a part of students learning how to read. I get to watch students go from not speaking a word of English to becoming fluent English speakers. I get to learn and grow in my occupation. I get to collaborate with others. I get to read original pieces of writing from students. I get to hear the funny things kids say every day. I get to bring home new learning to my own children. I get to model being a devoted parent and teacher to my children. I get to teach.
I’m hoping to keep my “get to” lenses on at home and school. What will I get to do today?