What do you need?


How do you put that into context?  Food?  Wealth?  Power? Friends?  We all need certain things to survive, but after those basics are met, what next?


First and foremost, I need to teach.  One co-worker paid me the ultimate compliment recently in telling me that with our current students, building relationships is so important, and that she wishes more could create that type of atmosphere their classrooms like I do.  This is my safe place, my place where I can come, work like a dog, but know at the end of the day, I’ve not reached one child, but a classroom full.  If I couldn’t teach in a school, I know that my teaching would transfer to another profession where these skills could be put to good use.


Second, I need space.  I love the fact that right now, I can walk outside and listen to my cows moo, the wild turkeys gobble, and watch the eagles and turkey vultures soar over head.  My garden is tilled and waiting for the soil to warm just a bit before I start planting.  The fencing for new pasture is almost done.  All of those things would not be possible in town.  There are obvious disadvantages of where we live: movie theater is 30 minutes away, good grocery store is that far, and a Target, 90 minutes.  However, the longer I live here, the more I feel that is not just a want.


Finally, I need my family.  My wife and I are best friends and are madly in love. At time, that passion gets channeled into arguments, but when the chips are done, she’s the one I trust unconditionally.  My daughters, they amaze me with what they know and what they can do.. They laugh, smile, and are kids in an adult world, able to move back and forth between the two without being sucked into those ideals of cliques, rated R movies, and disrespect.


I’m sure if you asked others, their needs would be different, more expensive, more sophisticated, and that’s ok.  My wife often calls me culturally illiterate because of the things I enjoy and the things I don’t know, but that’s ok too.  In the end, I’m happy with those that I have in my life, with the places I’ve gone, the things I’ve done, and I’m looking forward to where life will take me next.


Why talk about this on my blog?  How many times do we as teachers ask ourselves what do we need?  My guess is we ask “what do you need” so many more times it’s comical.  The truth is, educators must be able to look at themselves and know themselves, know those things that make us tick.  If we can’t do that, it hinders what we can do as teachers.  I reflect on this a lot, and obviously my needs change, but in the end, my must haves are relatively small, yet, they guide me in my professional and personal lives.


Do this sometime: find a quiet place, a piece of paper, and reflect about you.  It’s an eye opening, sometimes painful experience, but in the end, it will help you in being the teacher and the person you want to be.