What Do You Agonize About?

tears-2

Lately I have been praying for some of my friends and colleagues in the education profession. Some of you may think that is odd while others may be saying, “don’t forget to send a few prayers my way,” but I am sincere in my thoughts because for 25 plus years, I lived in their world. I know the toll that teaching other people’s children can take on an individual, especially when emotionally you invest almost everything you have into a child on any given school day that you don’t leave much for your own children and your own family by the time you get home. I am not saying it is right or wrong or that it is the only way that it should be done, but in my experience those who are invested in this manner cannot help themselves because it is who they are. Their DNA will not allow them not to give everything they have in order to make the greatest impact they possibly can on a student.

We are so blessed to have so many teachers, support staff, and administrators in the education profession who care so much and also give so much because they want to see their students experience joy and just as important, to have their students know what it feels like to be a successful learner. Yet, these same passionate and caring teachers and school leaders who are so committed to making a difference also spend countless hours agonizing over their work because they fear the thought of not reaching a child. Even more heartbreaking is when they can see all of a student’s potential slipping away that it brings them to tears because for whatever reason they are not able to see it in themselves at that very moment. I often reflect back on my first year of teaching and can still hear my principal saying to me, “Jimmy, everybody has a savior but it isn’t always going to be you.” Then after a slight pause he would say, “But it doesn’t give you an excuse not to try.”

I was recently at an academic award ceremony when I heard my former colleague and good friend Joy Kelly (@joykelly05) share something in her message to the students and parents that we often talked about a lot as an administrative team with our staff when we were addressing the countless situations that we were facing in working with students and families. She reminded everyone in the audience the role our staff plays today in teaching our children and in some instances, the role our students play in reaching other students. You see, our teachers are faced with the task of teaching all children; the gifted, children with special needs, the engaged learner as well as the reluctant learner, the homeless, those who have been incarcerated and those who are suffering from mental illness. The best teachers love all of their students, regardless of their sexual identity, their level of income whether they be affluent or poor or been the victim of physical or mental abuse or are absent from school more often than they are in attendance. Regardless of the severity of the challenges facing them or their students, many of our teachers and principals in schools today are investing everything they have in them because they know that what they agonize over is also the same thing that keeps them up at night; the opportunity to make a significant impact on a student that will change their course in life forever in a positive way. The greatest reward there is for educators for trying and never giving up.

So for my friends and colleagues out their tonight who are agonizing, know that your Kodak, or perhaps I should say Kleenex, moments are coming. Either way know that I am praying for you and hoping that a good cry is coming your way soon as you see your efforts be rewarded by a heartfelt thank you from a student or parent this school year or in this case, from a colleague who cares about you and appreciates you and the work you do on a daily basis.

Blessings to all of you, our teachers, secretaries, teaching assistants, custodians, cooks and administrators as you approach this holiday break!

14 Comments

  • Sly Boskovich says:

    Great article and great reminder that those who give so much often times leave little for themselves…they need an extra hug from those of us that recognize their battle.

    Sly

  • Deena Taylor says:

    Thank you, it felt like a one to one conversation, when that would be impossible. I wish more teachers would reach out to one another, we have so many late nights and thought filled agonies in common. Thank you again, and I hope our paths cross again some day.

    • Jimmy Casas says:

      Thank you Deena. I have no doubt that they will. Proud of you. You are a great example of working your way though the system with passion and dedication to become a classroom teacher. All my best! – jimmy

      • Deena Taylor says:

        Thank you, it is a true compliment for sure! And to update you on the years between our last contact…I went onto my Master’s in Teaching Special Education, moved to PV and am now starting my BCBA, it has been quite an interesting journey and is by no means over! I enjoy following you on yours!, and I will always remember “Be the Change”!

  • Jake LeBlanc says:

    Amen, brother! Where there is Christ, there is hope! We know He is everywhere!

  • Jimmy, man, you nailed it. So for me, I exhaust myself in patience, love, listening, and support during the school day. I’m really struggling to bring that same amount of passion home with me. My wife has told me, more than once, that I haven’t asked about her day or done anything to lift her up, but I spend 7:30-3:30 relentlessly listening, caring, and supporting kids and adults in my building. I too often neglect to deliver that same treatment to my biggest fan: my wife. Appreciate the prayer my friend. And I’ll return the same. Thanks again Jimmy! – Derek Oldfield

    • Jimmy Casas says:

      Derek, – there is no shame in giving all of yourself to your students and staff. The important thing is that you recognize that you still need to leave enough in the tank for your family. Like anything, you will figure it out and be able to provide enough for both your school community and your family. Just remember that you need to lean on others too. The job is too great to tackle it all on our own. Keep up the great work my friend! – jimmy

  • Charlie Hutzler says:

    Well-timed encouragement and reflections for this time of year, Jimmy – thank you!

  • Paul Quattrone says:

    Thank you for helping me to endeavor to be great.
    #WGEDD conference has regenerated my passion to be great for all of my students.
    Thanks again

  • Ron Fielder says:

    Great article! Glad you are staying connected, reflecting, and innovating. My best to you and family!

  • Brenda Rasche says:

    Dear Jimmy! I was reviewing my staff bulletin for the upcoming week at Clinton High School and read your article as was suggested by a staff member! Nicely done! As one of your “old” or should I say “past” staff, I embrace your attitude that still exists and your love for students. Keep spreading the word! Always my best to you, Brenda (Family and Consumer Science)

  • Danny Hill says:

    I see teacher joy being threatened for sure. I keep a list of my schools and I pray over them just like I used to do over my school. WOW! Powerful results. Your article inspired me, thanks. Hope to share stories someday.