Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Ten Year Plan: Purpose

Purpose brings life meaning. To simply follow the rules or go along with others is typically meaningless, but to live with purpose brings meaning, grace, and satisfaction to life.

I'm thinking about this today as I move into yet another phase in the school/life year--what's the purpose and how will I meet that purpose?

At school the purpose is to help every child I teach develop a strong foundation for living. That means to help those students learn with confidence, engagement, and empowerment, to help them develop the skills, knowledge, and concept to take another step forward in their lives. This also means working with families and colleagues to build a rich, nurturing teaching/learning environment. To do this, we need to work together to help each other with the best of our abilities, insights, energy, and effort. This is purposeful work.

Yet, I know that my tenure for this work has only a few more years until I move onto to new pursuits, and I wonder how I will make that transition in meaningful and purposeful ways. As I move forward, I continue to move inward too. I'm moving closer and closer to my goal of creating a warm, welcoming, dynamic learning environment with my grade-level colleagues. I hope that upon my leaving in a few years, I'll be able to turn over a classroom with great materials, furniture, books, and good order to another educator who wants to work on a dynamic team to engage, empower, and educate children well.

As I move inward, I'm focused on the following goals:
  • Teaching math to ALL students as well as I can. The current goals in that arena are to build in more interdisciplinary project work, reach students who may not have at-home academic support, and to make math the engaging and empowering subject it can be for children.
  • Teaching science to all students by promoting a number of hands-on projects that translate into a strong foundation of science concept, knowledge, and skill.
  • Creating a warm, engaging, and empowering classroom community that seeks to help every child develop the habits of mind and attributes of character that give them strength moving forward.
  • Collaborating with and supporting my colleagues at the grade-level, school, and system to continually develop a strong, dynamic teaching/learning community.
When I leave, I want to take my abilities forward to another kind of organization that serves children. As I think about that, I imagine myself working with children who may need more and different than typical children, children who are left out or children who face big challenges. I will enjoy that intimate work, and I will look forward to working with these children in hopes that I can empower who they are and where they are headed in life.

I look forward to a less harried pace with more time to read, research, and explore. I will likely get a bit more involved in politics too since I know that our democracy demands that we all do our part in order to build a strong, vibrant country where all people have the potential to reach for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

At the center, there will always be that will to hone my skills, better my efforts, and work for greater reverence for the people and places around me. That is both the purpose and path that calls me.