As the end of the school year approaches (more rapidly than I can keep track of), I usually start a process of wondering what my impact was this year. I teach about 32 students and coach 4 teachers, as well as working on other system-wide projects and programs. I teach religious education in a supplementary setting, which means students don’t often want to be there and attend on weeknights or weekends. So, what then is my impact on the lives of these people I interact with?
As a teacher who only sees each student once a week (unless they’re absent) and meets “coachees” once a week (barring the weeks of writing progress reports and other big events), it’s often easy to forget that both students and teachers come into work/class with their own lives, backgrounds, issues, and general baggage. It’s easy to focus on the topics that need to be discussed or taught, rather than the people on the other side of the desk/classroom.
So, I am now reflecting on care*. Have I shown the people I work with that I care about them? Has my care been expressed in my interactions with students? I know I have done some good in my work this year, but I also know there’s a lot more than can be done in the future. In the meantime, I hope to God that I haven’t ruined someone’s day, week, month or year at any point in my interactions.
I have compared the practice of teaching to the practice of coaching previously and the same applies as I reflect on the following quote by Haim Ginott:
“I’ve come to the frightening conclusions that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”
As we end another year of teaching our wonderful students and working with our wonderful educators, let’s not only take time to celebrate, but also time to reflect on the care we show to those around us at all times.
*If you’re looking for a great article on caring for our students, check this out.