This Thanksgiving, there is a lot that I am thankful for.
As a Christian, I am thankful to Christ for keeping me safe, healthy and intact another year. Unfortunately, in July my wife and I lost our firstborn son. In addition to that, this year we faced a number of challenges in our marriage. I am very thankful that our marriage remains strong and I am blessed to have my very best friend by my side.
Yet I would be remiss if I failed to mention that I am thankful for my job and for answering my vocation to be a teacher/mentor/counselor. For years, I avoided it and due to my stubbornness, I paid for it with a job that I was not satisfied with.
Although the core mission of my previous position was an important one, my talents were not utilized in the best way. So for a few years, I was a bit sad... quite honestly, I was depressed and frustrated. Yet I was presented with an opportunity from within to join the educational lab and serve in the position that I am currently in now. I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve children each day who deserve every opportunity to learn and be successful in their academic endeavors.
I don't take teaching lightly. Neither do I take counseling and advising lightly. It is an awesome responsibility to walk into a classroom full of students as they look to you to deliver to them information that they didn't know before. It is also a gargantuan task to offer guidance to a young student as they look to you for help in their classes or in their social experience inside and outside the school.
I relish every opportunity that I get to teach and advise the students under my care. I am thankful not only that my school trust in my ability to do my job, but also that my students trust that I hold their best interest at heart and that I will work hard to serve them in whatever capacity they need. I am thankful that they understand the need for me to offer tough love when the time calls for it and I am thankful that they trust me to provide them with guidance based on the various mistakes that I made at their age while in high school.
I am thankful for my colleagues who share in my mission; the mission to serve students in whatever capacity is necessary.
I am thankful for my boss: someone who is not a micro-manager, someone who trusts me to perform the duties of my job and perform them well; someone who teaches and advises me in my work; someone who allows me to be the best educator that I can be.
I am thankful for my brother in the struggle, who is responsible for college access activities for sophomores, juniors and seniors. Under his leadership, our school has achieved 100 percent college placement for the past three years, in addition to our 100 percent graduation rate. I am inspired by his ability to identify critical areas of need, recognize challenges in his position and bring the best out of the many students under his care. He pushes me to be a more effective educator each day as we compare notes on how to save lives in the triage which is the college access office where we share office space.
But more than anything else, I am thankful for my many students. I am thankful for them because they remind me each day that the future that is before us is not a bleak one, as long as we, the current crop of educators, take our jobs to mean sowing the seeds for future America.
Although our world is becoming more globalized each day, our impact can be best measured in the lives that are in our immediate reach. I am thankful that my kids allow me to pour into them the little bit that I know. They truly pour into me so much more than I could ever give them.
They've taught me that if they are taught with an attitude of service and compassion rather than one of contractual functionalism, that they'll not only pass a test, but they will grow as individuals holistically. My kids have reminded me that you cannot judge a book by its cover and that it's not about what the ingredients look like but rather it's about the end product as a result of the fusion of those ingredients.
They've taught me that if I give a piece of myself via sharing some of my personal experiences, they'll seek me out to provide them with something to help them in their future experiences. My kids have reaffirmed to me that human relationships and how we treat one another is what is most important in the work that we as educators do each day.
So I say thank you to all those who have turned education for me from a job into a career. I also say thank you to all of my students who have encouraged me and make my work worthwhile. In closing, I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good dinner.