Friday, September 30, 2011

Year 2: Week 4 - The Choice

Sometimes you just have to suck it and choose to be extraordinary.

This was a challenging week as a teacher and it was completely my fault.

If I did the bare minimum that was asked of me, teach my classes and take care of my basic administrative duties things would work just fine. Work would be less stressful, I’d feel less pressure and I would be able to go home after an 8-hour day as opposed to a 14-hour day I worked on Tuesday.

As much as it would be nice to have a more scaled down work week, I got to a point Tuesday night where I just decided I’m just going to embrace all of these extra project, meetings and initiatives I’ve chosen to be a part of a and  be awesome.

It simply is a choice and it is this choice, which make great schools great.

The success of many children’s education is built on administrators and teachers going above and beyond their required duties. There’s getting to know other teachers, starting projects, contributing to teacher associations and presenting at conferences to name a few. All of these things are extra but in great schools you find people doing these things all of the time, with little to know compensation for their extra work.

I rarely work my contract hours of an 8-hour workday. There are many teachers who do but that just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t work in my head, I can’t help it. To choose to slide buy, to not put in the extra work to contribute to the community is something that I can’t understand.

Now I’m not trying to make an argument that teachers should get paid more for all of these extra things that we do. I guess I’m just trying to figure out why I chose to take on so much more than is required and so many of teachers I work with do the same thing.

My school is not a workplace. It’s not somewhere that I just punch in and out of. It’s a home and a family. And yes, I get paid to serve that community, but it's my community, and I want to help make it better. I’m not doing these things to get a bonus or to climb up some of kind career ladder. In the same way that I try to make the home I share with my wife a great place to live, I want to make my school a great place to learn.

Maybe it’s my naivety that makes me believe I can make a positive impact on my school. Well, I also believe that I can make a positive impact on the world. Maybe that’s unrealistic or misguided, but I can’t help but be who I am.

Do we really a choice? Are some of the decisions in our lives such a reflection of who we are that we can’t really make a different choice? I don’t think I can just be mediocre. Working with young people have simply made me believe too much in their potential as well as my own.

Choosing to be extraordinary is tiring and stressful but sometimes that's the only choice you can make.

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