It’s October! Perhaps my very favorite month of the whole year. Usually we are well into our football season, but we haven’t even had our first game in this crazy year. But that will all change this week. Here’s hoping we can get back to some type of routine . . . in school too and not just in athletics. Oh, how I would love to never have to Zoom with students ever again!
As I was looking over this week’s newsletter, I saw a meme I created at the bottom that really struck me. It asks, “What is your legacy?” Coach Mumm was the first one to really put that thought into my head when he addressed his football teams each year. They would all have their chance to add their own legacy to the great tradition of Prowler football. Then when our former principal, Mr. Zutz, took over, he framed that in a different way: As teachers, what do we want our legacy to be in terms of how we impact students and shape their futures. That still resonates with me all these years later.
So what do you want your legacy to be? How do you not just impact your students, but how do you shape their futures? I always tell my classes that growing up and becoming an adult is the coolest thing ever. I wouldn’t go back to high school for a million dollars. Not even for one day. What happens if I did something differently and screwed up the amazing present I have right now?
I think this is a message our kids need to hear every single day. Seriously, how many of our students can’t wait to be 30? Worse yet, how many of their teachers, coaches, parents, bosses, role models have given in to the lie that “high school is the best time of your life”? I have never understood any of that!
Inside this week’s Teaching Thoughts you’ll find some amazing content, specifically . . .
Teaching Thought #21 – “Seeming Rather Than Being.” This is a quote I came across in Matthew Kelly’s book, The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity. The idea of “seeming rather than being” comes from a letter by a principal to the parents of his students. It’s about the dangers of technology and social media. Those tools can be great, but they also can get us caught up in trying to pretend to be people we are not. Too often we get so wrapped up in updating statuses and snapping selfies or ranting on the latest blunder by a political figure, that we forget to just ‘be.’
It always saddened me when I would pick Cash and Kenzie up at Latch Key and I’d see parents staring into their phones while their kids were hugging their knees and begging for their attention. That’s why I never once took it for granted when Cash and Kenzie saw me and yelled, ‘Daaadddddd” and raced to see who was going to be the first to jump into my arms. You never get moments like that back. Now my kids are done with Latch Key, and I will never have those moments again. But I’m sure glad I was present and ‘being’ there for each and every one of them.
Why I Teach – Impact. I reflect on an amazing experience that happened when I was at a former student’s wedding this summer. Don’t take the impact you can have on your students for granted. You do shape their futures and impact their lives!
Podcast of the Week – “Three Lessons I learned from my Burn Doctors” by John O’Leary. Coach Mumm used this in his Phy Ed class last week, so I gave it another listen. Wow. This podcast is another great example of how people forge legacies. Each of O’Leary’s burn doctors changed his life. Some for the worse and a rare few radically changed it for the better.
O’Leary realized these three lessons: People Matter, Words Matter, and Wonder Matters. As teachers we are blessed to be able to work in all of those areas. Never take that for granted.
Have a great week. Go out and show your students or staff just how much they matter. Do that often enough for long enough and you’ll have a legacy that you can be proud of.