Here's the last of my three #SOL17 posts reflecting on the teaching qualities of three Hogwarts professors. A podcast titled "Teach Like They Do at Hogwarts," created by Chuck Poole (@cpoole27) at Teachonomy.com described three teaching qualities and challenged teachers to reflect on the qualities within themselves. (Click here if you want to give it a listen.)
Severus Snape. Arguably the most complicated character in the Harry Potter series. My students don't get why he's my favorite character. They can't comprehend why Slytherin house is my favorite house. Then they read the "The Prince's Tale" in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And they understand. Always.
The lessons from Snape are profound. He loved deeply and unconditionally. His love moved him to make remarkable sacrifices, to bravely risk himself, and ultimately changed countless lives for the better. In teaching, the same thing can happen. I - like a lot of teachers - can get stuck in the negative: not enough time, lots of pressure, blah, blah, blah. What if, instead, I could find ways to focus on my passion for this noble profession, growing the positive thoughts and working toward eliminating the negative? The podcast suggested I reflect on the why: Why do I teach?
I teach because of those kids who need me the most. You know: those ones who show me the least. I teach because I truly believe that a relationship with a child can have a profound impact on the rest of his life. I teach because I get from my students so much more than I can ever hope to give. It's really all about them. Always.
This is the mantra to which I will return when things get crazy. Crazy happens in cycles for a teacher, and it is during those times when I am least likely to notice that I'm not present in my passion that I will stop, breathe (my One Little Word for this year) and remember the WHY. I need only to look around my classroom. I am surrounded by WHY. Soon, this group of WHY will be headed off to middle school. I will no longer be surrounded by this unique group of awesome ten and eleven year olds, this team of amazing kids who surprise me each and every day. My motivation in staying present is simply that we, as teachers, are always on borrowed time with those with whom we work. For me, each group is precious. The time with them is fleeting. Seizing each and every day with joy and purpose, and with unconditional love is worth it. The sacrifice is worth it. Always.