Saturday, December 16, 2017

Is it the People or the Experiences for kids?

Parts of this post have the appearance of being really negative.  It is only meant to make you think...

We all want to be them.
We all want to feel it
We all want to be that definite
The purposeful, specific
Separate, singular, unique
I am it, I know all
That definition of the sole
A rockstar, a superhero
In the Matrix that character named NEO

I challenge you to ask and reflect?
Was it the people or experience effect
Was it a set of names and things, or moments and spaces
What are your own 10 most powerful events and faces
That which put you, where you are now
Go ahead, do it, I did mine
Immediate family, then only 2 names, it took a little time
My 2 are not heroes, they were at the right place, at the right moment
Guided me, that is all I needed, but other 8 have no faces
Or maybe too many to recall, like that brotherhood of the team
That week I was crushed, declined application, the end it seemed
At one point I had a Coast Guard dream
Time spent overseas
That day I learned my place
Dodge ball, during 3rd grade recess
Bottles being thrown New Year's 2000 in Paris
That stampede that followed and the police
The summers spent with a friend, I don't now know
Being trusted to just go, go, go

In school I reminisce over projects, I became Johnny Trumane
I wrote a series of books about a bird, I forget the name
There was that assignment to map the school
That group challenged my primary leadership tools
Before the internet, before creating links forever
There are so many names I don't remember

Teachers did mean a lot to me, I don't want to forget
My point is experiences more than people, my memory dominate
I think we put too much pressure on who we are as individuals
When the pressure should be on creating lasting memories and rituals
Your students may not remember your spelling
But they can certainly remember that year, that moment eternal
Your a tour guide on a bus, maybe Disney at night
Hold a handle bar and show them the sights
Just acknowledge, you are not the show
It is about what you do, not what you know
You bring your style, you bring your voice, your lessons need traction
But mile after mile, let them rejoice, your ideas should bring the reactions
If you create an experience for students, they will always remember your influence.
Not because of who you were, but because of what you did, growth continuous

BPM - 125 "Rich...." J. Cole

As a profession why do educators through socially media feel a need to call themselves superheroes, gladiators, rockstars, etc.  I don't see other professions with this same self-branding.  I know many people in other professions and their acknowledgement of the sacrifices we make is tremendous.  I hear all the time, "I could never do that," and "You probably really are making a difference." 

I wonder than, at least through social media, why do we need to continuously name ourselves something?  Do you feel disrespected, is it a sense of wanting to feel like an underdog at all times needing to fight an invisible opponent.  This then helps and allows us to bring a passion to our work that is not the same as other jobs. 

Are we self-conscious, self-doubting our influence, maybe we feel like our work will be forgotten or dismissed?  At the end of it all, will anyone write us a letter thanking us for our work and service.  If I have a retirement party, will anyone show up.  Can I be replaced and forgotten by the time snow hits the next year?  At the physical basic level we aren't "producing" anything.  We can't at the end of the day say we necessarily "fixed" anything.  Our ability to show growth is so incremental and has so many factors, that it is almost impossible to have really good consistent measurements. 

What do we have to show for all of our hard work?  When the year is over, the students move on, they might never acknowledge you again.  You will probably not know or hear about 90% of your students after they leave you.  Matter of fact, you probably only hear about the poles.  The ones that are doing great and the ones that make tons of mistakes. 

What if our students don't remember us as individuals?  Isn't the point to be remember for the change, the growth, for the setting up a human being with an advantage or catching them up to be successful. 

I am just expressing feelings others may have.  I may have some of them as well and they probably come and go.  I do think, as I am in my 17th year in education, I am more and more passionate.  I am also realizing that we are all forgotten, but I am okay with that.  I am okay with knowing I was a cog in a massive wheel of humanity.  I am okay with my contributions up to this point, my influence over all the younger people I have known.  I am going to continue to be okay as I move into the second half of my life.  I am going to be okay with not giving myself a label that I need to live up to.  I am going to be okay with students that forget me, parents that don't necessarily like me, staff that question me, and anything and everything in between. 

I am not a superhero, I am not a gladiator, I am not a rockstar, I am not doing impossible things.  I am Doug Timm, a principal, a caring principal, a hard working principal.  Just like if I was Doug Timm the tax adjuster. 

My point is that my chosen profession defines how I feel and what I do, but no label will define who I am. 

My only straight A's in school ever:  6th grade first marking period.  Remark 17 is "demonstrates inconsistent effort"  That is the Doug Timm I strive "not to be."  I want to be consistent, at the minimum, I owe myself and others around me at least that. 

My 2 people in my top ten gave me these 2 pieces of advise that I remember all the time:

"The only conversations really worth having, involve students and our future"


"You have to live now, so that when you are old like me, you will have something to remember"

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