Why Bother With Steadfastness?
The balance poses and inversions that I practice on my yoga mat motivate me to be steadfast in my everyday life. Although my ability to stand steady on one foot varies from day to day, I persist with practicing my balancing poses every day. Finding my center point in order to hold myself in a headstand takes concentrated effort and everyday, I focus my effort, in order to balance on my head. Falling out of any one of these balance poses is inevitable, but so is my ability to try them again and again and again, finally achieving the balance in the pose.
The Drive To Move Forward
The 2020-2021 school year is nearing its end and my students are excited and eager for summer vacation to begin. Though teachers look forward to the summer break, before we wave goodbye to our kids and close our classroom doors, we still have a big task to complete. At the end of every school year, we reflect on the professional and personal goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. We look back at those ideals we set in September when our kids were new and fresh and assess whether or not we aspired to meet or exceed our target goals.
Though my intentions were good, and my plan realistic, I did not reach my goal this year. The number of students I’d predicted to become proficient in math, reading and writing, according to the state tests, did not score high enough. Though I worked hard with my students day in and day out, though I was steadfast with my instruction, they did not reach the standard I’d hoped they’d reach. Looking at their scores, it is tough to not see myself as a failure.
Yet, when I don’t meet the expected outcome, when I cannot celebrate a completed goal, I can’t let discouragement hold me captive or keep me from trying again. If I do, then I have failed as a teacher. Just as I have taught my students to learn from their mistakes, so too, must I learn from mine.
Even before this year is completed, I reflect on how I will be doing things differently next year. I believe every child has the capacity to learn, but next year, I need to discover sooner than later how each student learns best. This year, I watched how well my students learned from each other, and next year, I will find ways peers can teach peers. My students came to class everyday eager to take on responsibilities and next year I will give them even more to grapple with.
Being a classroom teacher is a lot like practicing balance poses and inversions on my yoga mat. If I persist, practice every day, and refuse to see myself as a failure when I fall out of a pose, then eventually, my steadfastness will lead me to achieving what I’ve set out to achieve, balance.
Why bother with steadfastness? It is worth the concentrated and daily effort it takes to strive toward success. But falling short does not equate failure. Only when we don’t try again and again and again, do we fail.