This Tuesday marks a brand-new year for many – a new school year, new teachers, new classrooms, new routines, and new experiences. For some, this may be a joyful and exciting time, while for others, it may be a time that brings those little butterflies to life in many of your tummies (students, parents and educators likely know what I’m talking about 😉). Wherever you may sit on this spectrum, please know that what is held in common, is the idea that it is a fresh start and the opportunity to both be inspired, and to inspire.
Last summer I (New Age Teacher) blogged about my two months being the “Summer of Yes!” I expanded my business, took my yoga teacher training for kids, held workshops, spent time writing, and the list went on. This summer was a summer of yes once again, but it was yes to self-rejuvenation, yes to slowing down, yes to listening to my body and its needs, and yes to travel, exploration, fun, and relaxation. I almost referred to it as the summer of “no” as I declined possibly lucrative business opportunities, and I said no to the inner voice that wanted to instill guilt as I indulged in pleasurable activities, rather than in work. But it wasn’t a summer of no. It was just what was needed – the time to give back to myself so that I could enter this new year with a renewed sense of peace, energy, and inherent spark and passion that is so important to me to bring into the classroom.
This summer, I also read. For a few years now, my other half Jeff has been prompting me to read “Tuesdays With Morrie,” knowing how much it would be a book that I enjoyed and appreciated. I know that it is not a new book, and I’m sure many of you have already read it. I was resistant for a long period of time, given that its theme held a very close resemblance to a past personal situation. It brought about so much pain to think of the special connection that I once shared with one of my older friends, and most certainly someone who became one of my greatest teachers, both before and after he passed. In the spirit of letting go this summer however, and healing aspects of myself that were ready to be healed, I was in turn ready to pick up this book.
I can see with my whole heart why Jeff urged me to read this book. Tuesdays with Morrie is a poignant memoir about a man whose greatest teacher was just that, because of the inspiring ways he taught about life and its meaning. He brought to life what is most important about being in this human experience.
When Mitch Albom first introduced his inspiring professor in the book, he described their encounters of the class meetings on Tuesdays; the curriculum…the meaning of life. He explained that no books were required, but that they covered the topics of love, work, community, family, aging, forgiveness, and death – what I would agree to be the pivotal themes for any individuals’ education throughout a lifetime – yes growing minds included.
I devoured the book in just 24 hours, between laughter out loud and tears upon tears rolling down my face. Jeff would peer over with a slight smile, just knowing the impact this book was having on me both as a teacher and as a soul on this path.
As educators, we have a very dense curriculum to fulfill – one full of many important, necessary, and interesting themes that will serve individuals for years to come. But what teachings take place outside of the textbooks and curriculum, are what will be remembered for a lifetime, I believe.
Professor Morrie Schwartz, did not maintain a legacy for using all sorts of bells and whistles inside and outside of his classroom – he maintained his legacy due to his ability and willingness to be present. In the description of his teaching ways, he had the admirable ability of making each student feel seen, heard, and important – this is what allowed his students to be able to learn in return.
Morrie inspired and encouraged a change in the path, most notably of the author Mitch Albom, but I’m sure in so many others’ as well. He held space for each and every one of his students, in turn, making them feel as though they were each as valuable as the rest.
School is so much more than teaching from the text. To truly inspire, it takes patience, courage, compassion, and a willingness to step outside of the safe boundaries that are often put into place by society. The rewards however – these are priceless. The smiles on the faces of your peers, your students, their parents, and your community, is what will shape our future for years to come.
Mitch Albom writes this close to the end of his book,
“Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine? If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back….”
So, as we enter into this New Year, what type of educator do you wish to be? Do you dream of being a Professor Morrie Schwartz? Will you identify your students as precious jewels and see the unique shine and beauty within each of them? Will you instill them with lifelong lessons that encourage and inspire their paths? I hope to. I also hope to continue Morrie’s conversation about life, its meaning, its purpose and its potential. I hope to teach what I wish my teacher had taught me®.
We are influencing others each and every day and we may never know to what extent one small word, or action may impact our students, or any individual for that matter, for years to come.
On this Tuesday with students, and every Tuesday thereafter, I wish you joy in the class, meaningful connections, beautiful encounters, and a new school year that is the basis for your students’ successful future, as well as, your own legacy in their remembrance of you for years to come.
Happy New Year!
New Age Teacher®
*This blog is dedicated to all the inspiring teachers along my own path, and shining a particular light full of love on Bob❤*
© 2015 New Age Teacher