Dear Educator, You likely have a project in your life, one which is never quite finished. You work on it, you think about it, and occasionally feel like you’ve reached a breakthrough. But when you push past the latest obstacle, you encounter something which makes you feel less than competent. Back to the drawing board, right? This happens to everyone, and it is the great preventer of beneficial works. We pour time and effort into things we can’t seem to let it go. We become obsessed with perfection and, accordingly, always find more steps between us and completion. After all,
Admire and Emulate
Dear Educator, Who do you want to be when you grow up? How close are you in thought and action to that theoretical person? If you are anything like most people, you don’t just recognize the difference between who you are and who you aspire to be, you feel it deeply. After all, how many among us are so fortunate to be the astronaut doctors from their childhood imagination? We all have moments when we feel like we’re not living up to our potential. Maybe it’s a bad day in the classroom, a difficult conversation with a student, or a
Dear Educator, Do you ever dream about winning the lottery? All that money, all at once, would have a major impact on your life. Possessions and experiences once beyond your reach would be well within your grasp. Everything would change, you imagine, and real life would finally align with your dreams. There is nothing per se wrong with this fantasy. Like all exercises in imagination, it allows us to create a world in our head. We can use that world to explore our hearts and minds, to determine what we really want, and to find paths towards real-life fulfillment. The
Dear Educator, Like everyone, you want things. Not “things” as in “stuff,” but “things” as in certain results, outcomes, or changes in the world around you. You may want your students to pay closer attention. You may want your significant other to understand your struggles. You may even want to change the very foundations of society. But remember everyone has their own priorities, and nobody has experienced life as you have. To other people, all may be right and good. What you want may be – from another’s perspective – completely unexpected or undesirable. That does not make you wrong,
Integrity by Example
Dear Educator, You are an example to your students. Your behaviors, decisions, and attitudes are all on display in class and on campus. For better or for worse, every moment spent as an educator is a “teachable moment,” which will shape the young and impressionable. By the time students move on from your class or campus, they will have formed a mental impression of you which will forever shape their understanding of how people are supposed to behave. No pressure, right? The problem when we face these situations is the same problem we face everywhere in life: we are human.