At the end of every summer, I try to create a post or two to get teachers in the right frame of mind for the beginning of a new school year, because, well, I need it. So, I just figure the rest of the teachers out there aren’t that different.
And at the beginning of July, I had the privilege of going to Puerto Rico on a mission trip (I am sure there will be more on that to come). Prior to the trip, our mission leader asked us to examine our heart through answering a series of questions. He wanted to ensure we were going on the trip for the right reasons and with the right frame of mind.
As I answered many of the questions, I thought of my primary mission field – my classroom. Many of my answers were two-fold. One answer for the Puerto Rico trip and one answer for my classroom. Answering these questions forced me to reexamine my reasoning behind teaching. It reminded me of my calling and cleared away the distraction of my career.
I bet many of you are the same way. You entered the teaching field to make a difference, to minister to students and fellow co-workers, but quickly became distracted by all the other stuff. It is easy to forget about the great commission in the midst of lesson plans, differentiation, faculty meetings, grades, quality feedback, MTSS records and meetings, IEPs, behavior issues, parent contacts, and whatever else may fill our plate.
I mean, I get it. I am there too. But that is the exact reason why it is important to revisit our purpose. Why did you enter the classroom in the first place? Why are you still here? And how can you make the biggest impact while teaching or working in education?
The answers to these questions can help us prioritize our work. They help give us meaning to the seemingly pointless tasks. And they might even remind us that we have spent entirely too much time stressing over a responsibility that really doesn’t matter, that has no lasting impact.
And don’t be afraid to be honest. We have all lost sight of what we are doing. We have all become jaded by the politics of teaching. Honesty is where growth will come from and the important thing is that you are taking the time to evaluate who you are and why you are teaching.
I am including the questions in a PDF. I want you to be able to print off the questions, answer them, and then put them somewhere that you can easily revisit your answers. I want you to have a reminder as you move throughout the year. I am sure after even day one we may begin to lose focus. Let these questions and answers continually remind us of our purpose.