A rewarding story 4 years in the making
As I approach my last 5 weeks of teaching, I am filled with mixed emotions. I'm so very thankful to have spent the last 4 years at a truly amazing school in Nanjing, China. I feel blessed and have nothing but gratitude for the experience that my family and I have had here. As some of you may know, I've decided to stop teaching at this end of this school year to pursue a long time goal of becoming a full-time teacher trainer/consultant.
I must admit there are some days I wake up thinking to myself, "What the hell have I done??!!!". Why would I give up such a great job in a fantastic school? But, when I reflect for any length of time, I'm proud to have taken the risk to do something that I am truly passionate about. I'm certainly going to miss my students though. My wife, Neila Steele, will continue on at the school and our boys, Eli and Tai, will continue on as well. Although I will still be a part of the community, it won’t be the same as going into school to teach every day.
Teaching can seem like such a thankless job at times. We put our hearts fully into it, diving deep into our practice in an effort to change kids lives forever. What we often overlook is the fact that our lives our being changed forever as well. I know mine certainly has over the past 15 years of international teaching. Receiving feedback about the genuine impact we are having on those who we teach doesn’t come very often. However, when it does, it plays a powerful role in reminding us about why we teach. I want to share a story of one of my small victories in teaching that has been 4 years in the making.
There is a boy I have taught for the past 4 years who has really struggled in physical education. I made it a goal, years ago, to spend as much time as I could having discussions with him and working on his mindset in an effort to get him to better believe in himself. I felt like I was beginning to breakthrough a couple of years ago. I noticed he was putting in greater effort and getting more involved in the activities done in PE. I kept on him, continuing to have important discussions and praising his level of effort whenever possible. Here is a recognition certificate that I gave him last year.
Please do not include --------- in the fitness testing. He is only just gaining confidence in fitness and sport. And he is sometimes teased by his classmates about being a slow runner. Andy has been wonderful in building his confidence to the point that he has decided to sign up for the basketball squad.
I'm sure that many of you reading this blog post have your own success stories and small victories with students. It's what makes teaching a beautifully rewarding profession to be a part of isn't it? I hope you can reflect on the impact that you are having and continue to be difference makers to those who you teach. I'll end this blog post with one of my favorite quotes by none other than Jim Carey himself. Don't ever forget the effect that you have on others!
“How will you serve the world, what do they need that your talent can provide? That's all you have to figure out. The effect that you have on others is the most valuable currency that there is.”