Thursday, September 24, 2015
Hand Middle School
Standard 8.E.4 of the South Carolina Science Standards suggests that there is an observable universe. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is in that universe. In the Milky Way exists an unfathomable amount of stars. Our star is the sun. We live on Earth, which orbits the sun once every 365 days. Every 24 hours, Earth makes one rotation on its axis at a speed of 1,040 mph.
The order of the universe continues. At the start of each period, my 8th grade gentlemen know to set their materials at their desks and line up outside of my classroom for “the talk.” This is when I have the opportunity to teach young boys what it takes to be a man. It’s something that goes beyond academics. Manliness is about self-respect and the respect of others. It’s about selflessness and service. It’s about doing the right thing when no one is looking. It’s about looking your best, feeling your best, and doing your best.
These young gentlemen have begged me to give them the opportunity to voice “the talk.” Now, I have the privilege of listening intently to these leaders encourage, challenge, and inspire their classmates and me. Outside of my classroom, boys are becoming men. They’ve learned to look a man in the eye, extend their hand, and execute a firm handshake. They know that presenting a man with a “dead fish” is never an option. We are currently learning to properly tie neck ties; a skill that every man ought to know and no man will ever forget. It must fall to center of the belt. Not too long. Not too short.
As the Earth keeps spinning and Hand Middle School becomes a memory, my hope is that “the talks” stick. I hope that handshakes and neck ties become reminders to my young men of their worth, potential, and success. My 8th grade boys are model Hornets who “Love Blue” and “Live Gold.” They truly are “tied” to success.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Hand Middle School
The term “success” is used often times to describe a person who has completed a task or has finished a career or life of vast accomplishments. Success is always seen as a destination that we all want to reach one day. We set short term goals and long term goals, and when we reach those goals, we refer to ourselves as a “success.” I was challenged to think of a successful life as a journey, and not simply a destination. The idea of a successful life being a journey or a process is an oxymoronic idea in nature. How can one be a success on the way to becoming successful?
During a recent conversation with a former student, I was enlightened to the reality of what a “success” truly is. A success, by my definition, is simply doing what you were placed on earth to do! There is a process that leads to that ultimate success, but are you not successful during the journey? Success equals fulfillment. Money or fortune fulfills no one completely, but a successful person understands the purpose of their existence. Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why!” What a remarkable statement! The key to success is knowing exactly what you were created to do and doing it!
Seven years ago when I began my teaching career, I knew that I was fulfilling my purpose and reaching young people in a way that only I could. I felt contentment with my career; I could teach for 30 years and never get tired. There was a joy that accompanied going to work and seeing the eyes of my students light up when we were engaged in the learning process. Over time that feeling changed. I felt as if I was wrong for not feeling the joy and happiness I once felt in the classroom. I came to the realization that when seasons change, a discontentment takes place in our heart and it pushes us to greater things. That discontentment is what moves us from good to great, it is the driving force by which we journey from one season of joy to another. When there is more in us to do, we can’t stay where we are.
I am more than humbled to be a part of the Hand Middle School family. I am learning daily from the comradery and teamwork displayed at Hand Middle. I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I am looking forward to this journey from Success to Success!