If someone was keeping a tally chart of my successes and failures in life, I know the failure column would exceed the success column ten to one. I loathe failure, but failure is vital to success.
When I fail, I find myself in the depths of despair over the failure, I fret, I think, I whine, and then I figure out how to fix it. The fix fails sometimes too. I fret, I think, I whine, you get the picture. However, every once in a while, success happens! Success then encourages me to go after another problem. The cycle repeats until I find a little success again. Failure is constant. Success is rare, but this little rare bit keeps me going.
Failure! Failure! Failure! SUCCESS! This is my teaching career! After six years of working with teachers, I believe reflective thinking makes a difference. Every teacher experiences failures. Students are tardy. Students aren't passing the assessments. Students aren't bringing work to class. Yada...Yada...Yada.... My response is, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?"
Your next step may or may not make a difference, but the teachers who find success are the ones who keep looking for a solution regardless of the previous failures. Often the previous failures lead to success. For example, for two years I tried to help my students increase their basic math skills. Nothing changed! Finally, I asked the students what we could do. One child had a solution and the solution worked year after year after year. I could have given up, but I did not. The failures gave me conversation points for the discussion.
Students need teachers who don't make excuses like "These kids don't read", "These kids don't come to class", "These kids won't do homework", or "These kids just don't care." "These kids" need teachers who are willing to look for solutions regardless of how many times failure occurs. "These kids" need people who believe they can learn, read, communicate, invent, innovate, and lead.
Teaching, real teaching, is HARD WORK. Failure will occur more than success. BUT!!!! When success occurs the impact is tremendous. A child's life changes! If you are failing and are tired, find a group of innovative teachers and surround yourself with believers! Reflect and success will come. If you are succeeding, share and mentor a struggling teacher! If you are making excuses and don't want to change, do the children and the rest of our profession a favor and quit.
Teachers are very powerful people in the lives of children. I have always taken this responsibility very seriously. I realized very early in my career I had the ability to influence what students thought and believed. However, my place is not to indoctrinate my students to believe what I believe, rather I believe my job is to teach children to form their own decisions by teaching students to find the information for themselves.
In 2000 I enjoyed teaching students an interesting lesson about bias. I printed the presidential platforms of four political parties. I covered up the names of the parties and had students read each issue and choose which choice best described their beliefs. After the students totaled their choices, I revealed the party labels. Students were very surprised to find based solely on the issues where their support was.
Tomorrow we have an opportunity to vote. I take this opportunity sacredly. On my 18th birthday my mother allowed me to skip school and do anything I wished to do. I asked to register to vote and go to lunch with her. My mom was surprised when I registered as a Republican since my family was registered as Democrats at the time. I explained what I believed and why. I explained I was not registering as a Republican because it was cool or because I was told by a friend to do so. I had done my research and felt this platform was most like what I believed. I certainly did not support everything, but about 75% of the platform at the time.
Over the years I have voted for a variety of people and several different parties. I am a voter who leans right, but really makes my choices based on the candidate. I do my own research and do not believe the majority of what the media shares. I read through the “ObamaCare” legislation. I have browsed through every budget this administration has submitted. I have also browsed through the summaries of the budgets offered up by the legislature. I research laws and I read bills. I do not depend on the media to tell me their truths, but rather go read the public documents myself. I believe we have to be smart voters not blinded groupies.
Voting is an honor, which has been secured by blood. I believe we should teach children to find the facts for themselves. There is the possibility they will disagree with what we may believe, but if their opinion can be supported by sound reasons, then we have created an aware citizen.
Tomorrow morning at 5:30 a.m., I am going to the polls. I will vote for Mr. Romney. I am not voting for him because I think he will create this magical nation where everyone goes to work. I am not voting against Mr. Obama because I think he is missing a birth certificate. All of these things are noise to me; rather I am making my choice based on the following things I personally believe.
1) I believe people are hurting. I believe the deficit is at a breaking point and if we remain on the same path, we will cease to be. I am appalled at the level of income lost to taxes by the middle class, the loss of income by women and minorities, and the future tax bill, which is coming due in a few months from the legislation of the past four years. The government does not create jobs. Free enterprise creates jobs.
2) I don’t believe any government can legislate morality. I am a Christian, but when I look at the life of Jesus, he ministered to the hearts of people through love as a way to change society. He did not run for office or try to convince lawmakers to pass laws. He simply changed the status quo with love. On the other hand, what I believe comes from His teachings, so I have to support a more conservative platform. The difference is I am not radical. I love and judge not people as the one I call Savior requires be to do. My friends are a wide range of people and each enriches my life and my thoughts.
3) As posted in a previous post, I support a very limited welfare system. I believe we change the lives of people through a strong education system, not through welfare. Motivation and self-worth are decreased when people are given something for nothing. If every child in the United States had an effective teacher and left school with an international level education, our country would look differently. I believe there are those who speak one thing, but do another. These people come from both sides of the aisle. Their desires are to say the right thing, but to ensure those in poverty remain in poverty through poor education so the political powers do not shift.
4) I believe in medical reform, but I believe people who give 12 to 14 years of their lives to become doctors deserve high salaries. Instead of being jealous, go to medical school. I also believe a major element of reform comes from tort reform, preventative medicine, and holding people accountable for their health choices. I also believe health care is best supported not by government but by people and St. Jude’s is my best and personal example.
5) I believe in a very limited government. I have yet to find a socialist/communist/Marxist society where the poor became wealthy. History demonstrates the poor become poorer, the rich become concentrated in the ruling powers, and the middle class disappears. The responsibility of the federal government is to protect citizens from powers both foreign and domestic to collect taxes, provide basic services such as roads, and enforce the rights afforded me in the Constitution. Government should be strictly limited.
6) I believe everyone should pay some sort of taxes. I don’t believe anyone should be exempt. I don’t believe the “rich” should pay half their earnings in taxes. I don’t believe my tax rate should have increased as much as it has in the past four years. I would like a flat tax with no exemptions. There should be no loopholes. If this does not cover the expenses, then eliminate the expenses.
7) I support Israel. I support Israel because I have read the book of Revelation and I take it to heart. I don’t support everything Israel does. I had a friend to comment the countries in the Middle East hate us because of how we treat them. Here is the issue. We don’t decide how their governments decide to manage the money earned from oil revenue. We don’t decide how their governments restrict the citizens. I have to say I can’t imagine any woman who believes in equal rights for women ever supporting any Middle East country. They have the power to have freedom, free enterprise, and equal rights. I am not changing how I live, because it offends them.
8) I believe in a very strong military. I believe from the school playground to the world stage, people are always looking to take and to conquer. Our nature is to not be satisfied. Rather then look at the USA and see our freedom, our initiative, our work ethic, and our free market as the reasons for our blessings, others would rather make us play their games and be less successful rather then them playing our game and winning. We aren’t perfect and we have issues, but it works pretty well considering it is a human system.
9) I believe people should be free to make their own choices, protect what is theirs, and to speak without punishment, even when the speech is offensive. I don’t believe anyone has the right to cause physical harm to another person except in the protection of property and life. You can disagree with me, but I have the right to say it, as do you.
10) I believe the government for the most part is corrupt, selfish, and arrogant. I doubt 15% of the politicians in this country from local boards to the national government actually care about the people, our Constitution, and the future. Most are just looking for their own power, their own pocketbooks, and their own agendas. This makes me sad. I have seldom seen anyone with the spirit of Jefferson, Lincoln, Adams, or Henry.
These are my reasons. The majority of people reading this will disagree with at least one position in the list, but I can articulate what I believe. I have reasons and I am not just blindly following a candidate. I vote with thought and often with hesitation. I don’t like the direction of our country. I have not liked the direction of our country for about 20 years. Freedom is not free. Freedom requires hard work, dedication, and intelligence. Freedom requires people to hold intelligent conversations and have the ability to respect those with whom they may disagree. Freedom requires a government to believe the people can make their own decisions and their welfare is their own to define. Before you vote, go read the Constitution. If you disagree, decide what you think our country should be. If you agree, decide what we have to do to return to this model.
Whatever you do, don’t call candidates who don’t agree with you silly names like a kid on the playground. This is moronicDon’t listen to the media as a basis for your opinion. Go find your own facts. Finally, learn to respect people, even those who believe differently. Hate has seldom changed the world in a positive manner. God bless America.
I am a teacher, which in a single word, sums up my passions and my belief in the future.