Perseverance: A Commemorative Blog for Faculty Appreciation Week

Perseverance: A Commemorative Blog for Faculty Appreciation Week

Like all great literature, Maya Angelou’s powerful poem I Rise speaks to the human collective.  I apply her message to the teachers who serve our children and our society tirelessly amid unprecedented challenges. John Goodlad calls their battles no less than “the struggle for the soul of the American public school.” 

Webster defines persevereas “to continue in some effort in spite of difficulty or opposition.”  Successful teachers, of whom there are so many, not only persevere but rise to overcome. In this way teachers serve as role models for their students, who themselves carry unprecedented burdens.  

In their stamina teachers mirror more famous cultural icons who, despite setbacks, persevered to success.  Winston Churchill noted, “Success is never found.  Failure is never fatal.  Courage is the only thing.”   Of his many setbacks Thomas Edison said, “I know several thousand things that won’t work.”  Albert Einstein quipped, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”  Wayne Gretzky, pro hockey all-time scoring leader, observed, “You miss 100 per cent of the shots you never make.”  Michael Jordan, the highest-scoring pro basketball player, has said that over his career he missed more than 9,000 shots, lost almost 300 games, and failed to make the game-winning shot 26 times.  Jordan reflected, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Unlike these famous heroes, America’s teachers are mostly unsung; nonetheless, they are the glue that holds schools together, championing what John Dewey called “the fundamental method of social progress and reform.”  Teachers commit. They hang in there.  For themselves.  For their students. They persevere when they see what others don’t see, do what others won’t do, hold on tight-as-a-vice when others let go, envision success for their students and make it happen, over and over and over again. That’s perseverance. That’s a teacher.

 

Comments

James Lane's picture James Lane | May 9, 2018 2:19 pm MST

Thanks, Debbie.  It reminds me of how proud I was to become a teacher so long ago - and I still am proud.  It is a noble profession!

Mansureh Kebritchi's picture Mansureh Kebritchi | May 9, 2018 2:09 pm MST

Great way of describing the nature of teachers’ work. Well done, Jim! 

James Lane's picture James Lane | May 9, 2018 2:19 pm MST

Thanks, Mansureh.  Looking forward to Friday!

Elizabeth Johnston's picture Elizabeth Johnston | May 9, 2018 3:50 pm MST

Thanks Jim

Great discussion of teachers and their work....

 

Liz

Ronda Gregg's picture Ronda Gregg | May 10, 2018 6:33 pm MST

Jim and others,

I was lucky enough to be able to hear Maya Angelou speak on the topic of "Heroes" when my oldest daughter was in school in Vermont.  Her college had invited her to speak.  I wish I had taken a tape recorder.  I did not own a cell phone at that time.  Because her major was in theatre, she did her entire speech that evening with readings from her books and dressd and acted the parts.  I've never forgotten her life story (and bought every book she had written after that).  She told about her grandmother as her real hero in her life story.  She went on to talk about sports and how all children today equate the hero-worship of the big name athlete with the money they make.  She advised everyone to look closely at those around you, your family and your collegues, because your hero might be closer than you think.  Our teachers in our schools are heroes to many of our students.

James Lane's picture James Lane | May 10, 2018 8:39 pm MST

What a wonderful experience, Ronda.  Thanks for sharing!

Ronda Gregg's picture Ronda Gregg | May 10, 2018 6:33 pm MST

Jim and others,

I was lucky enough to be able to hear Maya Angelou speak on the topic of "Heroes" when my oldest daughter was in school in Vermont.  Her college had invited her to speak.  I wish I had taken a tape recorder.  I did not own a cell phone at that time.  Because her major was in theatre, she did her entire speech that evening with readings from her books and dressd and acted the parts.  I've never forgotten her life story (and bought every book she had written after that).  She told about her grandmother as her real hero in her life story.  She went on to talk about sports and how all children today equate the hero-worship of the big name athlete with the money they make.  She advised everyone to look closely at those around you, your family and your collegues, because your hero might be closer than you think.  Our teachers in our schools are heroes to many of our students.

Louise Underdahl's picture Louise Underdahl | May 10, 2018 10:34 pm MST

Hi Jim,

Teachers . . . envision success for their students and make it happen . . .

Well said!  Your wise words bring to mind my teacher and mentor, Dean Martha Boaz (University of Southern California School of Library Science).  When I embarked on my doctoral odyssey, Dean Boaz asked:  "Do you know why most people do not finish their doctorates?"

Her response was simple:  "Life.  Life is the major obstacle to completing your doctorate.  Adult students face competing priorities, as well as financial challenges, health issues, job problems, and social expectations."  She urged me to be realistic, expect delays, take "time out" when necessary, but never give up.

Louise 

James Lane's picture James Lane | May 11, 2018 6:00 am MST

Thanks, Louise.  I had a marathon journey to my doctorate, so I understand those challenges that get in the way.  I was very fortunate to link up with soem mentors who helped me see my way through.  We all need mentors, and I am grateful for those in my life.  

Tonia Perry Conley's picture Tonia Perry Conley | May 17, 2018 5:55 pm MST

Awesome sentiment!  Thank you for sharing this uplifting message.  I happen to work in the public school system and see the commitment of teachers and administrators alike up close. Their ocmmitment and efforts are unparalleled.  Teachers are challenged to provide instruction, manage the class, interface with students experiencing learning disabilities, district and state-wide assessments, parental conferneces, and budget shortages.  Educators should be celebrated!

 

Enjoy!

Tonia 

James Lane's picture James Lane | May 17, 2018 7:59 pm MST

Absolutely, Tonia.  Teachers are challenged as they have never been before.  They deserve our unbridled respect and support!

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