A fine good Friday morning to all of you!
Last night, I had the privilege of watching my oldest daughter get inducted into the National Honor Society, something that she is extremely proud of. One of the requirements, write a short essay about someone in school who has inspired her. She wrote a very nice piece about a teacher who’s her speech coach and a teacher for an engineering class she’s part of. She wrote that he’s the reason that he’s the reason that engineering is a possible career choice right now in her mind. It was a proud moment for me watching this take place.
What inspires us? That’s what I thought about as I listened to the other students read about the teachers who inspired them. Where does that inspiration come from? I just finished reading an article titled “7 Things Every Kid Should Master”. In it, the author makes this statement:
I have reviewed more than 300 studies of K–12 academic tests. What I have discovered is startling. Most tests used to evaluate students, teachers, and school districts predict almost nothing except the likelihood of achieving similar scores on subsequent tests. I have found virtually no research demonstrating a relationship between those tests and measures of thinking or life outcomes.
Do these tests inspire our students? Do they inspire us? If I were to wager a guess, I’d say most of us educators would say no as would most kids. So what would inspire them? This wasn’t an article about inspirations, it did make me think about the seven things the author thought kids should master: reading, inquiry, flexible thinking/use of evidence, conversation, collaboration, engagement, and well-being. Could any of those lead to inspirations? Oh my goodness, yes! If my students could master the art of inquiry, imagine the Genus Hour projects that could be created? Or if they mastered the art of conversation, all of the questions they could ask! The possibilities are endless!
So as adults, what are your inspirations? Where do you draw your energy from, that you tap into when you need it.
For me, I’ve got a few things that inspire:
1) My parents: They are 70 and just returning from another trip to Puerto Rico. My father was a teacher for 30+ years, my mom stayed home with us to start out, then worked as a secretary in a legal office. They skimmed and pinched pennies and worked hard to provide all that we needed. No, we were never flashy, rarely had name brand things, and often went to Goodwill, but we never were hungry and knew that we were loved. I’ve tried my hardest to hold myself to that high standard. I don’t succeed as much as I’d like, but it feels good when I reach that spot.
2) My wife: We’ve just celebrated our 21st anniversary and I cannot imagine a life without her. She’s the most patient person in the world (21+ years with me is a testament to that), she’s creative, intelligent, can talk her way into or out of any situation, and continues to be a terrific looking woman. More than anything, she’s the best friend I have in this world, and I work to be a better person for her each and every day.
3) My kids: As I’ve taught for almost 21 years, I look how much more “stuff” my students today deal with than those students had to back in 1994. They are under a microscope of social media, every mistake instantly and glaringly put out there for the world (or their world) to see and judge. Yet, my daughters push themselves constantly with new things. They are so much more brave than I was at this point, and they truly can be whatever it is they want to be. I have one daughter who wants to be an engineer, the other a marine biologist. Both have their mother’s strong will, so I have no doubt they can achieve this! 🙂
4) All right, and I have to throw music in this too. With the advent of the Internet, streaming music, it’s opened my eyes to all the different types of music that is out there. Today, I was listening to a group called the Afro-Cuban All-Stars, and their backstory is so unique, that whenever I listen to their music, it inspires me to do better somehow.
So, my happy thought: inspirations. What are yours? 🙂