Since I moved my family back to the midwest, I have been blessed to spend more time with my family. Sixteen years ago, I left my parents’ house in Omaha for the big city of Houston. Luckily, I grew and changed over those years and so did my parents and siblings. We did see each other yearly, but not as regularly as we do now. One thing I noticed at this year’s Christmas gathering is that I am not forced to be the person I was in this picture.
My parents and siblings allow me to grow and change. For this I am very blessed. My family’s reaction to me made wonder about how educator view growth and change in others.
I think that it is easy to pigeon-hole students, teachers and parents into a role. If we hold tight to that view, we do not allow that person to grow or change.
I think of one of my students who has a reputation about being a difficult student. A behavior intervention plan was put in place so this student could be successful. This plan worked for this child. At times, it can be challenging for this student because teachers and students still see him as “the bad kid.” Luckily, his teachers have seen him grow and are proud of his change. His success happened because his teacher believed that he was capable of change.
As an educator we need to believe that all students are capable of change and who they were last year, last month, or last week does not have to define them.
We also need to give each other that grace to grow. If define teachers based on their first year of few years of teaching, then we are limiting them. I am glad that I am not defined by my first few teaching years . I know that I was a difficult mentee and I can remember in my second year of teaching that I was upset that I was not nominated for Teacher of the Year. I am glad that those teachers never gave up on me. They continued to treat with respect because they knew I would change. Luckily, I did.
As I continue my journey of growth and change, I will expect my peers to grow and change. I will expect my students will grow and change. I will embrace who they are now and who they will become over time. Change is an exciting thing!