Shooting for Their Success

Shooting for Their Success

It’s not everyday that we get to work at a job where we can actually say we’re thoroughly delighted with our daily activities.  You know how sometimes, you work at a place because it helps you to make ends meet?  However, there are occasions when our place of employment is an environment where we can take those things that we love and put them into practice in a way that is not only beneficial to others, but allows us to thrive in the areas where we shine best – because we love what we do.

I’m pleased to say that when I am not speaking, writing (or eating, LOL), a part of my day is dedicated to teaching two of my favorite subjects of academia (English Language Arts/Reading and Writing) to my 8 yr. old son at the school where he is also learning Spanish and Chinese.

Sharing with him and his 3rd grade peers the art and science of communicating their most vibrant thoughts with the rest of the world tickles me for days on end.  They’re at a point where they still love learning – and sadly, so many of our children don’t.

One of my favorite days at the school is Friday – not because I know it’s going into the weekend (although that is an added plus), but because each Friday the staff focuses on emphasizing the importance of college, and the students are enamored.  Uniforms are gone and college apparel abounds.  There are speakers, special presentations, and surprise guests – all with the intent of stirring up their enthusiasm for post secondary education.

Now, I don’t knock the world of sports, but to say I’m a fan of any team in particular would be quite the leap.  Anyone who knows me realizes my fandom is reserved for all things culinary.  That being said, I was delighted that on one of those recent Fridays my son’s eyes lit up when he saw this mascot (and massively tall) basketball players from The University of St. Thomas immediately following a presentation that again shifted his view towards his future.

I spend my afternoons with high school students who have not had such success in their academic careers.    Many are over-aged, some have been to three to four different schools already, prior and consistent failures from the past are common.  Nearly a third are homeless, some have single parents – and are single parents – but what I zone in on is the one thing that I can use to help their learning experience be effective:  desire.

There exists among them students who long to be successful, despite their circumstances.  More than a few of them possess the same desire as my third graders – to learn.  I share the common enthusiasm of wanting to teach them…things that perhaps they never knew or hadn’t considered.  Whether the eyes are oooing and awing in an 8 year old body or an 18 year old body, I hope and pray that the lessons developed – both from classroom and life – will inspire them to change their future in a way that is incessantly rewarding.

I’m no athlete by sports standards, but every day – I am shooting for their success.  All of them.  We each have the ability to touch lives with our talents, but are we really scoring the way we should.  What are you shooting for?  It’s not limited to a classroom…  I’d love to know.

#pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #bethe1, #athletesarentjustonthecourts

Picture:  Christopher and the mascot from The University of St. Thomas – feeling excited about his future.

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3 comments

  1. I’m so proud of you in your chosen profession, Carla. It is such a joy when you work with the little ones and it seems that practicall y every single one catches your enthusiasm. It is easy to envision each of them moving on and leading a wonderful, productive life with the learning skills you have provided.

    A much greater challenge are those older ones who have been declared “at risk” by the powers that be. You know in your heart that each of them still retain the potential for success, but it is often locked away at a much deeper level. Perhaps you can’t receive the mass joy you find with the young ones, but you can feel an amazing sense of satisfaction when you have “saved just one more”! Often that is enough to maintain the fire in your belly. Bless you!

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    1. Thank you so much, Mr. McCasland! I take that as a high compliment coming from you. It is a joy. I discover as much about myself as I do about the students with every day that passes. It is my hope that I never stop growing, in the classroom nor out. It is an honor to teach, and I only hope it makes the difference of a lifetime for these students.

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      1. You never can tell, Carla. Perhaps some day you will receive a Facebook note from a past student as did my friend, Igor Washetko. I knew him well when I was in Germany. He retired a number of years ago and resides there with his wife. Blessings may even come to teachers. We have to be patient to see the fruits of our labors.

        ‎David L. Bradley‎ to Igor Washetko
        November 29 at 4:43pm ·
        Seriously, now, Herr Washetko: you helped make me into a novelist. I would love for you to read my fiction. It’s all available on Amazon, in paper or digital version. Don’t remember me? In 1977 or so, I was a bright kid who had you for both Spanish III AND Modern American Novel, and I always had something to contribute to the latter. You may be pleased to know that I finally came to appreciate Hemingway. You and Bozo ruined one of my lunch periods in the park. smile emoticon I have never forgotten you or the class, and I would be honored if you would read my work.
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