Inspired by

People inspire me. And puzzles. Opportunities and areas for improvement. Students with social inabilities. Students with little interest in learning from limits imposed by themselves or others. Students who face challenges and hardships, but despite the storm, show up everyday.

I am inspired by students with a drive to absorb every last ounce of knowledge possible in a day. I’m inspired by the opportunity to develop character and confidence in kids. Personal discipline, not punitive punishments.

I’m inspired by my immigrant and refugee 11 years olds, some learning their second and third languages, who criticize their work, far too much, even the beautiful art they pour onto paper.

I’m inspired, not by buzz words and “teachers should,” but by experiences building relationships with my school’s most challenging students. Secret handshakes. Whispers of confidence I plant in them, urgently, camouflaged, while they’re friends aren’t looking.

I’m inspired by progress. By a continuous increase in kindness. By the “bully,” who offers up his umbrella to students to use, as they take turns walking to and from our remote portable, into the school, to use the restroom, during a Pacific Northwest monsoon.

I’m inspired by the light in the eyes of my students when they make “the” connection.

I’m inspired by my sense of duty, to show up each day – for them. Because these kids need consistency and kindness, to maximize their character and confidence.

I’m inspired by the little loves of learning that happen through the year. The moments when they forget to be embarrassed and shout out loud that they’re having fun and want to learn more.

I’m inspired by knowing that I make a significantly positive impact on a kid’s life, everyday. Even if the student is wearing armor. Even if the student is resisting. I can control my output and hope they absorb some of the positive input.

I’m inspired by the opportunity and responsibility to better myself and the community around me.

There are tough children and tough classes. Complex with conflicts. Depression. Resistance to progress. Apathy and anger. Still, we chart our course, board our boat and set sail into the unknown of the school day. For how can we make great discoveries, for ourselves and others, if we don’t first step into the blue?

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