I have written previously about the importance of identifying our personal values and setting some goals around these so as to make them a central focus for living. See my posts:
Living and Teaching from your Values – Sept 2014
Bringing your Values to Life – Oct 2014
It’s timely to identify what we value in our own teaching and in our classrooms to bring more meaning to our professional lives (NB: If you are not a teacher apply this to any occupation you have). This might look like:
- What we value about ourselves and our unique talents and gifts that we bring to the role. It’s important to look closely at whether we are bringing these to the fore on a daily basis or whether these have faded into the background under the pressure, paperwork, expectations or school / system priorities.
- What we value as education itself. This might be a specific subject area, a concept, a skill or practice, knowledge or issue that we want all the kids in our class to understand or develop in themselves.
For example I have identified the following:
- I value the environment and want the children in my class to develop a sense of personal responsibility towards caring for nature.
- I value stillness and a spiritual practice so will allow time each day for such practices to be cultivated.
- I value reading for pleasure so will search for books that will resonate with particular students to foster a love of books.
- I value self-belief and taking personal responsibility for learning and try to nurture this quality in all my students on a daily basis.
It’s so easy to be swamped with externally imposed priorities which may not always complement our personal ones. This can knock us off centre. They might be directed by the government, the media, by the system in which you work or by the parents of your students. This can be overwhelming as so many things are important. But to truly feel a sense of passion, fulfilment, meaning and engagement in what you do, you need to bring forward and make real on a daily basis the qualities, skills, knowledge or ideals that YOU truly value as a teacher and as a human being and that in some sense will leave a legacy in your wake.