Short Introduction: This post is dedicated to my Aunt. It brings a story on religion and connects it to education. I do not wish to push my beliefs on anyone. The story is sad, speaks about death, but out of tragedy I believe we can always pull out something positive. The goal of this post is to do just that.
I recently introduced to a story about death that touched me personally and as an educator. Personally: I recently made a trip to Atlanta to say goodbye to my dear Aunt Chickie (Louise) as she was given a terminal illness so this story made me reflect and hope that she feels that she has lived a fulfilled life. As an educator it made me reflect on my time in the classroom and how I am going to impact education moving forward. Here is the story (it can be found under number 8):
John Wesley was once asked, “If you knew that you would die at twelve o’clock tomorrow night, how would you spend the intervening time?” “Why,” was the answer, “just as I intend to spend it. I would preach tonight at Gloucester and again tomorrow morning. After that I would ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon and meet the society in the evening. I should then repair to friend Martin’s house, as he expects me; converse, pray with the family, retire to my room at ten o’clock, commend myself to my Heavenly Father, lie down to sleep and wake up in glory.”
Most of us would pull out our bucket list, have a party, go to church (maybe even if you have never been), go skydiving, etc. The interesting thing about John Wesley’s response was that he would not change a thing. He would go about his life as he always did, present himself to God, and be satisfied with his life, his mission, and what he had accomplished.
“Don’t leave anything to chance. Educate everyday like it is your last chance to shape the future.” Justin McKean
Do you take advantage of every day, every lesson, every chance to learn, every chance to make an impact? I am no longer in the classroom and I instantly started to think about how I felt about this question. I integrated technology, used innovative practices, built relationships with kids that to this date have withstood the test of time, and I feel really good about how I utilized my time BUT I can’t help but feel like I left somethings on the table. Maybe I could have done more?
How do you feel? It is my hope that you feel like you great about what you have done but if you have not, the beauty of my question is that it isn’t real! You do have tomorrow and the next day, month, year, decade depending on where you are in your career. Take advantage of the moment and seize the opportunity. One thing that the Innovators Mindset has shown me it is never too late. Forget about what do not do well and focus on your strengths as an educator and design ways to impact students everyday.
“When we build on our strengths and daily successes-instead of focusing on failures-we simply learn more.” – Tom Rath
Take what you have learned (in this book, career, recent PD, whatever) and apply it. Don’t get stuck in a holding pattern where you are worried about how taking risks will impact your students. Kids are resilient, more resilient than adults in many ways. Explain to them your vision, dreams, and why you are doing what you are doing and if solid relationships are established, they will stand by you. If you have not established solid relationships then use your willingness to try new things to build them!
Take advantage of today, teach with no regrets, and mold the future into one with life-long learners who are empowered, innovative, and ready to take on the world.