This is part of a series of posts from nominees for our LifeChanger of the Year educator recognition program. We meet scores of fascinating LifeChangers every year who have interesting perspectives to share about children, education and life.
Only once in your life, I truly believe, will you find someone who can completely turn your world around. I can remember falling in love for the very first time, although this might be what you’re thinking of when you first read that.
We shared hopes for the future and began to share dreams and goals with each other. It was a magnificent uncontrollable feeling. Someone once told me love should be “free falling, scary and exciting.” It is like a roller coaster ride! I could recall many nights I could not sleep, wanting to reassure “my love” that I had everything under control. Oftentimes I would have embarrassing moments, but “my love” would assure me that mistakes happen, and everything would work out as long as I promised to push.
Webster dictionary defines love as a warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion to someone or something. My first love was introduced to me at a very young age. It wasn’t exactly a person, but it was something embedded in my mind and heart, and I couldn’t resist it. I would dream about the impossible, trying to unravel it, hence becoming a reality. My desire to have every moment and a considerable amount of time with it was my main goal. It was something I dreamed of every night. I could not stop thinking about the impact of having it in my life, and how it would set the foundation of me changing the world.
In case you have not guessed: I’m referring to my education. My passion and love grew tenfold because I had several people who made a tremendous impact on my life- from the cafeteria workers to the principals to teachers to custodian staffs. Each person played a very influential role in molding me to become the person that I am today. I serve in many capacities; I am a role model, a nurse, police officer, and a counselor. But most importantly, I am a TEACHER.
Bell rings. Students begin to gather in the hallways
Students are talking to each other
The lockers are opening and closing
Bell rings again
Oh no! That’s the tardy bell
Students begin to run to their classes
“I can’t do this Mrs. Taylor!”
“This is too hard!”
“When will I use this in life?”
I hear these statements almost every single day in class. As a teacher, it is imperative that I change the mindset of my students and help them find the zeal and love for education. It is the passion, the excitement, and the commitment that keeps an effective teacher yearning to deliver a profound and productive lesson. Students become more intrigued by the enthusiasm of their teacher when they can feel his or her passion and love. How can I transmit this feeling to my students? Is it okay to push them to the limit or should I just expect the minimum requirements?
Zig Ziglar, an author and motivational speaker, once said “You can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic.” Nowadays, most students’ main focus is on their social life, social media, trends with clothing, etc. My dreams and passion for educating students are beyond sitting in desks, lecturing, and administering assessments. Most students enter the class lacking basic skills or deficient in content knowledge. However, Harry Wong, an educator and author, once stated, “Teachers should consistently convey to their students that they are the smartest and that they can achieve anything.”
Often, my students become discouraged and sometimes irritated with me, because of the difficult task they face while working problems in the classroom. Giving in and letting them take control of their learning is not always the best idea. Most of the students will need guidance, even the overachievers. How do I push the students to the limit?
- Setting goals at the beginning of the year and monitoring those goals
- Being fair and consistent
- Repeat a content if we fail it
- Give next steps to becoming successful
- Absolutely no “down time;” we work bell to bell
- Most importantly we encourage and help each other
Each student is unique and different in his or her own special way. Finding a way to push each student to reach his or her maximum potential is my goal as a teacher. My desire is for the students to feel the love and energy that I felt with my first love.
Sometimes students enter my class with a fear of mathematics. But, with a reminder that “FEAR” is merely False Evidence Appearing Real, they can Face Everything And Rise to every occasion. With this compassion and love that I am instilling in my students, I trust and believe that one day they, too, will feel the same way I felt when I first fell in love for the very first time.
Learn more about Qwensweler Taylor on her LifeChanger of the Year profile.