Sunday, January 13, 2013

Commitment Complex - An Emotional Burden

Something that has interested me since arriving in Cleveland, MS to begin my teacher training back in June, 2012 is my commitment to the "mission."

I've always wondered how committed I was to reforming education and how I was going to do this. I felt like I knew nothing about education's faults and that there was little I could do to actually change them.

Now, nearly 7 months since the start of my journey, I'm teaching my heart out. I love teaching and I love growing my students in character and intellect. I see the changes that need to be made, I identify the holes in our school system and I make the changes I can in my classroom to correct the injustice.

The hardest part though is what I call the commitment complex, that I'm not committed enough. Granted, I tutor at my students' houses weekly, I build literacy initiatives into Algebra I, insert "positivity and respect" character building in the classroom and the list goes on... but it's not enough.

It's an emotional burden to feel the need to stay up all night, to work at all hours to end the injustices but to physically not be able to. At the same time, I'm building my own Jackson community. Perhaps this is all on the path to creating the most change, but I'm impatient.

I want to be that person that in year one has accomplished far more than most teachers accomplish in their entire time. I don't want to be the "best teacher" but rather the "most transformative teacher". I'm not talking Teach For America speak. I'm not talking about being the transformational teacher, I said "transformative."

I want to see the change in Jackson, as a whole. I think that it goes beyond my classroom and spreads throughout my school. There is so much potential and so much passion to back up the initiatives, but it's just never enough.

I want to build a connection and influence those I meet to help me build this momentum but the power to influence takes time, especially in Jackson. I have many connections and networks now, but the ability to use them will take a bit more time as they get to know me and I them.

I don't know how to change this emotional burden into a forward thrust of action, as I am constantly pushing forward already. It's only up and forward with my students, school and district, but I want to see it all happen.

I guess this commitment complex is a blessing in disguise. As Pastor Rhodes said today, "We are all missionaries that must go and teach. We're all destined for greatness."

I'm just waiting for the never-ending desire to do more to turn into something great, something wild that has lasting impacts. Chances are, my time is being spent wisely but the changes are piling up silently. This way, I will forever keep pushing since it will truly never be enough until all is equal.

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