Hit the Pause button.
Forget for a moment the public scrutiny, governmental interventions, unfunded mandates, and the myriad of other stress-agents that surround educators. Forget changing standards, new curricula, and standardized tests.
Remember (even if just for today) the real reason that you entered the field of education. Remember the real driving force behind all meaningful student learning; the relationship between a caring educator and their students.
Last week, out of the blue, I received a text message from a former student, who I taught in Georgia (I now live in Michigan).
Zack: Is this Chris Ming?
Me: Yes, Zack it is.
Zack: Will you be in Michigan for Thanskgiving week?
Me: Yes I will
Zack: How far away are you from Detroit?
Me: About 40 minutes
Zack: No way! Well me and Spencer are coming up to Michigan for Thanksgiving break and we were wanting to see if you maybe wanted to grab lunch while we are up there to catch up and see you.
Me: Where are you going to be? It would be great to meet up!
We were able to set up some time together yesterday for lunch in Greektown and I got to hear all of the great things that are going on with Zack and Spencer. I was humbled that these great young men wanted to spend part of their holiday with a teacher and coach that they had not talked to in four years. They reminded me why what educators do matters and provided me with a new energy for my job.
From left, Spencer Tafelski, Chris Ming (me), Zack Shusterman in Greektown Detroit after lunch November 25, 2015. Spencer and Zack were students and soccer players that I had the privilege of working with four years ago in Loganville, Georgia
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the meaningful relationships that make learning possible. The relationships that make an impact on young people’s lives. I am thankful for all of the educators out there that make connections with young people. You won’t find these connections in any legislation, standards, or evaluations. But it is these connections that create the environments conducive to learning. These connections create the opportunity for all students to be great.
Educators everywhere, never forget the impact you make everyday in the lives of your students.