One of the things that I know I contemplate often is the fact that we don’t take enough time out to reflect on what an important position we hold in this country. As teachers and people who lead schools we have a very important responsibility. I know that may sound trite but if you seriously reflect on the role that we have in the lives of students, it is more than a tad overwhelming. The time that students spend with us is equal to or often times more than they spend with any other adult figure.
If you have had the opportunity to work with students who are from low income or otherwise difficult households, you will see this impact multiplied. These students are looking for attention, someone to look up to, and sometimes love. At the end of the school year these are the students who don’t want to go home. They don’y know why but they want to stay at school. They want to stay because they feel safe, they fell loved and they feel that they belong. The experience at home may not be the same. This impact that we have on students is profound. Some of us have even had the pleasure of a student who mistakenly called us mom or dad or uncle or aunt. And sorry to say, grandma or pop. That happens because we fill that void for them when their near relatives are absent or maybe we fill that need in general.
In that vein, don’t we have a responsibility to step up our game on a daily basis? I have told my staff on several occasions that my expectation is that they are all in everyday. Can a reasonable leader expect anything less? I’m not sure what we would be holding back for. This is the only shot we have. It is the only shot that your students have. We owe it to ourselves, our students and the world to go all out, to be all in, on a daily basis. There really is no time to be off your game because today might be the day you changed someone’s life deeply and do you really want to be the one to steal someone’s dream. I don’t and I don’t want to be responsible for the person who does.
In this day there is very little love for education in the mainstream. Respect for teachers and education is in the doldrums. But we chose this. And in a way, this chose us. I’s okay for us to be mad at the worked for the way we have been treated but it’s not alright to make students the victims. Some days I know it is hard to do it for ourselves but remember why we are really here: Do it for them!