I have written many many blog articles about teaching and learning, and believing in my students. What continually draws me to a student, and keeps me going? I will tell you. It is the chance to launch them. My favorite movies have involved teachers that help their students. “To Sir With Love”, “To Sir With Love II”, “The Marva Collins Story”, “Dangerous Minds”, “Stand and Deliver”, Music of the Heart”, “Lean on Me”, and others in a similar vein. The thing they have in common is that their students are wounded. Wounded by life, past teachers, other students, or their own failures. What else do they have in common? The joy the students experience when they learn how much they are really capable of…they reach a point where they are compelled to strive.
What do I love? Oh, my—what I love more than anything is helping them heal from the past heartbreak or sorrow. Empowering them. I tell every one of my students, you are going to be fine, you are going to succeed. I won’t accept that they “stink at this subject”, “stink at test-taking”, “stink at school”.
I love to show them how absolutely MARVELOUS they really are. I think back on my own academic life. I was extraordinarily blessed by a fabulous combination of teachers. Some were warm and supportive. Some would holler and be sarcastic (like a coach would); but sometimes I even sought out those types of teachers. That was me.
Many of my students have been emotionally traumatized by the whole process. They need a tutor-coach who believes in them and sees their real gifts that have been marred by non-success. It is really a calling to be able to help them see themselves differently and learn new skills, strategies and styles.
Have I currently figured out the best way to reach every single one of my students? I have to say there are a few where I need to do even better. However, I do know that I believe in my students–and I am always trying to come up with new ways for the occasional student or two of mine that is resisting. Why? I keep going, and keep on doing it because I am determined that “not one will be lost” (no, not even one).
Now, I firmly believe that you, too are following your calling. How do you ensure that you let yourself offer your gifts to those you help? What challenges do you face? Each of us is part of an amazing interconnected puzzle. We bridge ourselves together in the most fascinating ways. We can learn from each other even if our tasks or professions or our daily lives are vastly different. What does “no, not even one” translate into in your life?