Throughout the past week, I have been consistently reminded of the largeness of the world’s problems— whether they be the impending effects of global climate change, the consistent turmoil in the middle east, or the inequity of education in this country. It is difficult to reconcile how insignificant and powerless we can feel in the face of them. During the week I have been a part of or witnessed a series of events remind me of the power of the relationships that we have with one another. I cannot imagine that we can begin to tear away the many layers of problems without getting the relationships with each other right. When I see the violence that we enact upon each other whether it be through words, physical harm or various other forms, I cannot imagine us beginning to find real solutions to these problems.
Although we may feel powerless to change the larger issues across the globe— and maybe we are— we do have the power to change the way that we treat other.
As the end of the year tensions rise, I have watched as well meaning teachers have directed their frustration and anxieties towards the students they set out to serve. Despite the fact that they have repeatedly stated the need to build partnerships, they drive wedges ensuring self-righteousness of the middle school self can only be heightened.
As we pace closer to the last days of school, student anxiousness to gain the freedom that summer provides will continue to push the boundaries of behavior. In these moments where frustration is building and anger is imminent, we must remind ourselves of the our vision of the self that we want to portray in the classroom. We must look back at the values that we hold and hold onto them just as strongly as we did in the previous weeks. Admittedly this is a tall task as this time of year can allow the complacency to seep in on the part of both the teachers and the students. I wouldn’t be being honest if I said that I have always been able to keep my cool as my patience wanes in anticipation of break. I would also be lying if I said that I haven’t lost my composure in these last moments of the year. I have. What I am unwilling to do is to lose sight of the vision a positive community experience that can be shared by student and teachers alike. As I have repeatedly stated, you better have a reliable compass and a map to see you through when things get tough. In the last weeks of school, things can get tough and they do. But when the time comes and things get difficult, we should stick to the values that we hold. Let’s start by realizing that we have the power to repair a crumbling foundation or burn it to the ground. I, for one, will be choosing the former
Things can become difficult and our relationships with each other, students and staff alike, can become rocky, but we should remember that the quality of relationships with each other are in our control.
Just remember— at any moment, we are one division away from disaster and one partnership away from beauty. The choice between the two is up to you. Which will you choose?