If you had asked me last year say…April 2012 if I enjoyed my job as a Chicago Public School teacher, I would have said…”I know I want to teach, but I’m not sure about the kids or school.”
Fast forward to not even a year later. I have finished my first school year at an extremely academically and behaviorally challenged school in CPS. I am in my second year at that school, and while I have some frustrations, I look forward to going to work everyday. I have a sense of purpose that I belong to that school’s community and am an active agent of creating positive change.
This post is less about me being a more seasoned teacher this year, but more about how I have consistent affirmation that I am living and breathing my purpose in life.
When I am faced with a challenge at work (and trust me, there are a lot), I don’t feel like giving up or look to put the challenge off on someone else. I embrace it as an opportunity to fine tune my practice, get better and meet my students’ needs.
All of the long hours I work once the kids leave, on the weekends, and over my breaks (which everyone’s who’s not a teacher swears that teachers just sit back and do nothing) never feel tedious to me. It’s not a chore for me to write my own story to teach my kids, or to give feedback on their writing assignments that I know they will probably not use immediately.
This past week alone I had so many instances where I thought, man Brandon – you’ve got to do more or find out a way to get this kid some extra help. I’ve got quite the road ahead of me.
At the same time, it makes it all worth it because I received a note in my teacher’s mailbox from a student that read:
“Mr. Byrd, you are the best teacher in the world. Thank you for always pushing me to learn more.”
When I read that note, I smiled and thanked God for the opportunity I have everyday. I know that I am right where I am supposed to be.
This post is not to suggest that we can only find purpose in our jobs. That would be foolish. I’m fortunate that my job does provide a sufficient amount of purpose for my life. What I’d like for you reading this post to walk away with is, no matter what your purpose is – find it and do it. The world is waiting on you to leave your mark and someone somewhere will be better for it.