Social media has pressured me into choosing a word for the year for 2014. There are so many words that I could have chosen to represent what I want to accomplish in 2014. I could have chosen “be” because I want to focus on being present wherever I am this year. I could have chosen “balance” like others have done because I need some balance in my life. This would be a great year to set some boundaries between my professional life and my personal life (especially regarding the time that the former steals from the latter). There are many other words I could have chosen, but I decided on “inspire.”
In education, we often get so mired in the minutia of dictated curriculum and test prep that we forget the importance of truly inspiring our students. I started this school year with the desire to “inspire wonder” in my students. While I haven’t lost that goal, I haven’t lived up to it either. The daily pressures of teaching have created some less-than-inspiring days in my classroom. With the holiday break providing time to rest and rejuvenate, I am now ready to get back into the classroom and do some inspiring.
“Inspire” is a great word for the classroom because it focuses me on a higher level of instruction. If I only teach students in view of high stakes testing, they may learn, but their learning has no connections beyond the test. However, if I teach to inspire, I can help students dream better futures for themselves and for society. Developing the scientists and engineers of the future takes more than learning facts; it takes inspiration.
Science is inherently inspiring–I just have to connect my students to that inspiration.
Inspiration is also my word of 2014 for my personal life as well. I want to be inspired in the big things and in the small stuff every day. This requires my being observant and present in the moment–noticing the wonder around me.
Let the year of inspiration begin.