This weekend has been FANtastic!!!!!!!!! Not only has there been plenty of activities this weekend, BUT both Friday and Saturday night my friends and I (somewhat different group each night) stayed up until midnight talking about education and what we are seeing as the new generation of teachers!!! ESPECIALLY in India!!!! It felt like we were in college again!!! So yes students, your boring old teachers stay up until midnight talking about education!!!:) EXCITING!!!!! For us at least!!! Anyways, last night was the more intense conversation about education than Friday night, mainly because we were talking about expectations at Woodstock and our opinions on them!!! Now I'm not going to repeat these conversations because we know what we talked about and that is that nor am I going to mention names with their opinions!!!:) However, I wanted to share some thoughts on my experiences with education, both as a student and now as a teacher!!!!!!! Mostly from the teaching perspective!!! Which has a LONG, ELABORATE history I know!! A whole whopping 1 year and 1 month!!! But that is in formal education, I also have 7 years of teaching experience on the courts back in Shako, so it's not like I'm brand spanking new to this concept of pedagogy!!! As a student I won't lie I was one of the more "teacher's pets" you could say!!! ALWAYS excited to go to school and see my friends and goof around!! But when it came to the books I was above average!!! At least up to high school!! Then my easy ways of barely studying and just basically knowing was going down the pooper!! I actually had to study now!! And this is where a lot of students determine their path in education right here and there!!! They can either CARE about grades and their future, OR they can blow it off all together and go through the motions!! Well luckily I cared about my grades and future and I got down and dirty, not studying too hard but enough to get a 3.5GPA!!!:) On the ACT (similar to SAT's) I scored an 18 the first time and a whopping 22 the second time, out of 36 I think!! Needless to say aint going to Harvard!! But thankfully I had no ambition at ALL to go to an IVY league school or any of those "rich" schools!! My eyes were set on THE U of M (sorry Michigan, but we are THE U of M) or THE University of Minnesota Duluth!!! By 11th grade those were my 2 college choices and thanks to 5 years of teaching tennis at that point I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to be: a PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER!!!!:) Senior year came by, I applied for both U of M and UMD and was accepted FIRST into UMD and from there the rest is history!!! I didn't need a campus visit, because I've been to Duluth so many times I knew I would love it there!!! College was AMAZING!! First year on academic probation (stupid lib eds!!) and again had a choice either shape up or give up!!! OH I SHAPED UP HARD AND FAST!!!! Got off of Academic Probation after my second semester of college and never looked back!!! I was motivated as all crap to get that Physical Education degree!! Because I knew there was nothing more that I wanted to be in life, or anything more meaningful!!! So going from a 2.2GPA after my first semester and graduating with a 3.14 wasn't too shabby!!! And yes comment all you want that it was only "UMD"!! No glamor school, no nationally known college, it was plain and simply my college and now my alma mater!!!:) And you know what, everyone else's opinion simply didn't matter!!! Why?!?! Because I was happy and proud to be a college grad and on track to teach Physical Education the rest of my life!!!!!!:) AND THAT IS WHAT MATTERS!!!!! Not the college you graduate from, not the grades/marks you receive, not how many extra-curricular activities you participate in!!! The one and only thing that I think matters in life is going after what you're passionate about!!! And the rest will fall into place!!!!:) I was passionate about teaching (specifically PE) and that passion turned my grades around in college and landed me a job at Woodstock!!! If interviews only went by grades and marks there was no way I would have landed this job!! However, interviews focus on one thing, that person's personality and character!! And Woodstock (I hoped) could see my passion for teaching and for Physical Education!!!!! THAT is what landed me my first dream job!!! And what a dream it has been so far!!!!:) I couldn't be happier, and this coming from a UMD grad, shocking right?!?! How could I ever be THIS happy without an IVY league degree, graduated with top marks in my class, or a big bank account?!?! Simply groundbreaking stuff right here!!!! Ooooooooooooooooh wait I think I know, it's because I am doing what I WANT AND LOVE TO DO!!!!!!!! A lot of this/most of this comes from my parents!!! My dad got into banking when he was 15 and loved it ever since!!! My mom got in to religion and has been the most passionate pastor I know ever since!!! When I told them I signed a contract to Woodstock School in India and then told them what I would be making, they were the happiest parents I knew!!! Why?!?! Because they know this is what I want to do, and this makes me happy!!!!!! They didn't care what I was making, or what school I was teaching at, all they care about is seeing their son happy and doing something he loves and is passionate for!!! Which brings me back to the perspective as a teacher!!! In a lot of ways we are parents to these kids, especially at Woodstock!!! If we show up to school everyday showing no enthusiasm or passion for what we do, how are we ever expecting our students to be excited about life?!?! You teach by example damn it!!! If I teach PE, you better believe I'm going to be active EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE!!!! How can I preach the benefits of staying active if I'm a 100lb overweight lazy butt!?!?! How can I teach enthusiasm about life if I don't show it myself every single day!?!?!? How can I inspire students to do something they love, if I myself do not do something I love every single day?!?! In a perfect world every student would be in shape and going after what they love!!! Well real world says that aint gonna happen, and you know what that's okay!!! Why?!?! Because that is why we become teachers to take that head on and try to motivate and inspire!! If teaching was easy, EVERYONE would want to be a teacher!!! But it's not!!! That is why I will NEVER tell my students to stop doing what they love and focus on what will benefit them the most financially and what will look good on a resume!! Once we (teachers) start doing that we're not teachers anymore, we're everyday people who just tell someone younger than us what is the best thing to do.......a.k.a ADULTS!!!!!!!!!!! No, a teacher is someone who cares and believe in students!! A teacher is someone who will work that extra hour one on one with a student who is struggling and trying to find their place in life!!! A teacher is someone who WILL SHOW UP TO WORK DAY IN AND DAY OUT READY TO INSPIRE!!! A TEACHER IS SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T FOCUS ON RANK/GRADES BUT ON A STUDENT'S CHARACTER AND MORAL DECISIONS!!!!!!!! We are shaping the future teachers of the world, and if we do not lead by example then what becomes of this next generation?!!? Who are we but dust in the wind if we do not try to make a difference and impact on each student's life!!!!! Good college, big paycheck, nice car?!?! Those things come and go!!! Heart, passion, and character stick with someone forever!!! They are you, they are your soul!!! We cannot change their character, we can only inspire and lead by example!!!! To all those out their who strive to make change every single day in the classroom I solute you!! For those who go through the motions everyday cause it's giving you a paycheck get out now!!! You are doing no good for yourself and for your students!!!! Why does the system fail from time to time, because there are teacher's out there who don't care for the student's, only themselves and advancing in the paycheck ladder!!!! So what is success these days, I can't tell you what yours is but I know what mine is and I know I'm on the right path!!!!!!! There's my teaching philosophy!! And they say keep it under a paragraph!!!! RIGHT!!!!:) Hope everyone's weekend was FANTASTIC and HAVE A WONDERFUL SEPTEMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!
3 MONTHS AND 20 DAYS MINNESOTA/IOWA/KANSAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)
"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves" -James Barrie