Ok…I’m guessing that this is supposed to be the most epic blog post of my life. Well, I’m not sure that’s going to happen here. I guess I’m a bit torn. I want to convey my full experience without diminishing how great it has been. On the other hand, I’m not sure what else I can talk about.
I feel like I’ve been quite reflective with my blog posts throughout the program. Between this post and the portfolio, I’m not sure if there’s an aspect of the last two years that I haven’t analyzed. Am I burned out on reflection? That doesn’t seem like a quality of a good teacher or coach, but I think I’m at that point. I’m not burned out on MTC, Mississippi, teaching, or coaching, just at a loss for words at this point. I fear redundancy and monotony, which is why I’m struggling to figure out what to say.
If you don’t really enjoy reading through streams of consciousness, then this will probably be your stopping point…
2 Corinthians 6:17
“Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
This has been my favorite verse for quite a while. Coming into MTC, I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I knew that I could lean on this verse whenever anything came up. Boldness, confidence, maturity, and leadership are all things that relate to this verse. All four have been tested, tried, and strengthened through my time in MTC.
Boldness is one of those character traits that is definitely needed in the classroom and professional setting. My boldness has incited positive and negative reactions. Colleagues, parents, and students have appreciated my willingness to stick to my guns and not waver on my beliefs. In summer training, we were advised to not make a fuss, be quiet in meetings, and just go with the flow of things. Well, that’s not really how I go about things, so that was some of the advice that I didn’t quite follow. I was willing to speak up about things at my first school when I didn’t like them. I think that it’s important for opinions and ideas to be voiced—especially when it’s for the benefit of the children. Boldness also allowed me not to worry about how people would react. I have learned that some people are very weak-minded and downright soft. They lack boldness and it creates a definite rift in any relationship—professional or personal. Nevertheless, I am glad that my boldness has been reaffirmed through my experiences in MTC.
Confidence is very similar to boldness. Teachers and adults do as much social referencing as the children. In the school setting, teachers spend a lot of time reading, measuring, and sometimes judging each other. It’s an interesting dynamic that probably doesn’t get much attention. I’ve learned, while here in Mississippi, that having an air of confidence is a good thing. People respond to you differently, and respect is gained.
Maturity is one of those often pursued but seldom reached goals. Understanding how to really “come out from among them” and deal with all of aspects of it can be hard. There were times when I didn’t handle situations in the most mature way possible. Whether it was dealing with a disruptive student or a spineless administrator, I know there were times that I should have handled situations differently. I do think that “coming out from among them” has happened consistently for me when it comes to complaining. Granted, teaching isn’t the easiest job, but I absolutely hate complainers/complaining. I get visibly mad when people come to Saturday class and complain about everything, complain through g-chat statuses, and cry and moan about anything. I’m not a complainer. Yes, it’s ok to voice an opinion or feel a certain way, but complaining yields nothing but more negativity. It’s ok to love this job and be totally invested. If in your second year, all you can think or talk about is how ready you are to leave…just leave already. I’ve probably not gotten as close to some people in my class because of this. I just cannot deal with it.
Leadership is something I blogged about last summer when we had to give advice to the first years. Never be afraid to lead in any capacity. I’ve had some leadership opportunities in the past two years. Coaching in any capacity is definitely a leadership position. But having the opportunity to be a head coach my first year was probably the most rewarding experience. Being the head coach of the Byhalia Middle School track team was amazing. You’ll see the team picture on my blog. I totally consumed myself with it, and we had a dominating team. That was a very formative experience for me. Another leadership role that has been great for me has been being English Department Leader at Coldwater. Even though I’m a second year teacher, I have the opportunity to help other teachers and work cooperatively with them to make sure English instruction is great. I now have one of the best leadership opportunities ahead of me. Going to North Panola to be the Head Football and Track coach is going to be a huge task, but I think I’m ready for it. That takes me to another driving force in my life…Never Get Outworked.
Never Get Outworked
I got this tattoo in the fall of my second year. I’ve always been one to grind as hard as possible. This was something that got me through some my hardest days in college, and I knew it would get me through my hardest days in MTC. I say it to my kids every day, put it on the board in the weight room, and wear it on my back for life. Showing up early, always being prepared, treating everything like a competition—that’s what never getting outworked means. One of the greatest things is actually having some of my students and athletes internalize it and live by it. It takes a special person to always be the one willing to outwork everybody. I always tell them, “Somebody’s gotta get this money, it might as well be you.” They have fun with it, but they know it’s true because they see me going hard in the classroom and at practice everyday. Even when all of that work doesn’t yield immediate results, I know it will eventually pay off. That’s evidenced in the other tattoo I got while in MTC.
Temporary Inconvenience for Permanent Improvement
I actually got this tattoo in the spring of my first year. It’s a philosophy I adopted in college after my second ACL surgery. School was hard, I couldn’t compete in sports like I wanted to, and I had two surgically reconstructed knees. But I heard a gospel song and this struck a chord with me. It was a word that was for me, and I’m glad I was open to receive it. I thank God for putting that word in my life. I learned that even though things seem bad, they will eventually work out for the best. I brought that mindset to Mississippi with me. Because of it, I don’t stress out; there’s no need to. This has worked for me since I’ve been here, and since I’m going to be here for a while, I’ll keep relying on it.
Through this post, I realized that I’ve developed and strengthened some life perspectives that’ll take me well past my first two years of teaching. I like the person I am right now. I know that I’ve grown because of the things I’ve seen and the people I’ve met here. I am grateful for the opportunity, and I’m glad my life took this direction. I absolutely love my job. I have loved my time in MTC. No stress, no complaints, no regrets. I feel totally fulfilled and completely rewarded. Again, this has been amazing. I’ve really loved it.