Last night I watched the movie Facing The Giants, and I came to a realization. I have been focused on the wrong thing. For the last two years, since getting a new principal at my school, I’ve been too focused on “winning.”
It really doesn’t even matter what either, whether it was being focused on getting a better score from CSPA or getting more budget money. I’ve been focused on “winning.” And in the meantime, I’ve forgotten that is not the point of teaching. I’ve forgotten one of my own most important guidelines – they don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
I’ve been placing my goals ahead of my students and that’s not right.
It took watching the movie to see how much I was becoming like the coach in the film. Winning was becoming so important that I’d forgotten the purpose of my classroom – to teach students. I’m not paid to win awards or argue with my principal about how much money we have for workshops and equipment. I’m paid to teach.
And I know that I can’t teach my students until I first care about their success as a person. That is our calling as teachers, not our content area, but our students. They must take precedent over our own needs and even over our content area sometimes.
But, like the teacher/coach in the movie, I know that if you do care about your students, then anything is possible. The rewards will come to you, maybe not the ones you seek, but the ones you need.
I’ve taken my eye off the ball, and I have to remember to try and not to let that happen again. I can’t become discouraged because a student quits my class for a more “interesting” or “fun” elective. I can’t get down because of budget cuts. And I can’t lose focus because one group of students has left the building.
My dedication must be to those kids who are going to walk into my door tomorrow morning for the first day of the new year. Together, we must decide what is important and set our own goals and not dwell on the past. We have to find out what our Goliath will be this year and, like David, we must go out there and slay it together.
If you are a teacher, coach or if you have teens or work with them, I highly recommend watching Facing The Giants. Its worth the hour and a half it will take, and it will remind you what is important in life.