What good does it do to sharpen a knife if you are never going to use it? Well, you might argue that at least you will be prepared if you need it, or you could argue why waste the time for something you may never use? Both are legitimate arguments.
When it comes to sharpening yourself, I like to err on the side of being prepared. This applies to work, to relationships, and to our spiritual lives. If we never sharpen our blade we tend to become dull over time and less effective. Think about this in the world of teaching. If you are in the rut of a routine because you did not take time to prepare a great lesson, then why should you expect the students to excel?
I know that some kids will rise above the level of teaching but they are not the norm. Most kids want to know what they are doing and why they are doing it. They ultimately need to know what’s in it for them!
As we come to the close of a year which has been a strain on everyone (putting it mildly), my encouragement to you is to sharpen your blade. Do something outside of your comfort zone and resist the temptation to just fill time in the class. When teaching you have to expect the unexpected. Fire drills, observations by Principals or Corporate Coaches, illness of your co-teacher, days when you are just stressed out, tired, or not feeling well yourself, kids who have a melt-down in your class, technology issues, etc. The list is lengthy and can throw you for a loop if you are not prepared for the unexpected.
When you face something unexpected in the day, BREATHE! It is easy to get stressed out over things that in retrospect are just hiccups! Don’t let the stress of teaching overwhelm you! If you see one of your co-workers struggling, encourage them. Give them a hand if you can and take some of the burden off of their shoulders. It is a lot easier to get through a crisis if you know you have someone walking beside you and helping you, doesn’t it?
If you work in a dysfunctional team, then it is up to YOU to be the light in the darkness. It is up to YOU to be the encourager. YOU be the helper THEY need. It is amazing to see how small acts of kindness can melt hearts of stone. It may not happen overnight, but if you do the right thing consistently, good things will happen at some point. You reap what you sow.
This applies to other fields of work as well as to our relationships. We need each other, and we need to be people who show love instead of hatred, encouragement instead of resentment, mercy instead of judgment, and sow seeds of peace instead of discord. That would make the world a better place for all of us, don’t you think?