A line from the homily at church has stuck with me. “We have a tendency to hold on to where people were at.” The priest then discussed how a recovered addict is always referred as an ex-addict. He also discussed how we allow a transgression to define a person. He discussed that we need to rise above this tendency.
As an educator, this really spoke to me. As a teacher, we need to not let last year define who the student will be in our class. I can remember sitting my teacher educator classes and all of us discussing how we would not gossip with the previous teachers about the current students. I really wonder how many of us still do this or if we have justified how current behavior. I know I am not perfect. I can justify reaching out to other teachers to see if they saw the same thing. I will freely admit that some of the information shaped my view of that student.
Also I held on when students returned to my class after a stint at the alternative school. I should have welcomed them back to my class with open arms. Instead, I held on to the idea that they were the “bad kids.” I know I have been part of the problem.
Also how do I look at the teacher who struggled the first year and now is shining as the innovative teacher? When someone talks positively about him, do I remind them about his first year and how he almost failed as a teacher or do I celebrate the success? I want to act like I am always the celebrator, but I am not.
As I go forward, I will make a concerted effort to treat as who they are now, not who they were yesterday. I will work on giving everyone the grace I want when I make mistakes. I know I will not be perfect, but now being aware of my own tendencies I hold on less.