Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Wed 1/29/2003 4:18 AM
Random Thought: Commitment To Teaching

Another high 20's brrrr morning. We're growing peach melba on our trees this wintery year! Going out a tad late didn't help much. I didn't really want to be a huskie in the Arctic. Boy did I come up with a bunch of excuses why I shouldn't and couldn't go out into the south Georgia Arctic. Let's see. I told myself I didn't want to risk getting a cold, my grubbies hadn't been washed, I was too achy, I just wasn't in the mood. I came up with a bunch of chilling excuses of why I shouldn't brave the chill. Then, I thought of something I had told a student yesterday morning. And, I had to put my money where my mouth and spirit were. I went out because I wouldn't let myself have an out.

So, here I am frozen as a solid as a slab of meat in a freezer. As my stiff and shivering fingers thaw out and I'm being warmed by a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee, I think I'll share why I wouldn't allow myself to remain in the cozy warmth of the house and went out in nature's refrigerator.

It was the fault of a student. And that brings me to yesterday morning. A student, a first year elementary education major, came up to me after class. We had just two exercises I call "It Communication, dummy" and "Remember the Chair," which emphasize two of the classes four working principles. This student said, "Dr. Schmier, can I interview you for a class. Got the time now? It won't take long."

"Sure," I answered.

"I only have one question for you."

"Okay," I replied never knowing what's coming.

"What does it mean to be committed to teaching?"

"That's an easy one ," I snapped back. I hesitated and added, "....and a hard one. 'Committed to teaching' means you don't leave yourself a way out. It means you won't walk away from your dream. It means you'll do whatever it takes to make your dream a purpose in life. It means to challenge your excuses and rationals when you hit the challenges. It means you have to can your can'ts--each and every day. It means you have to will yourself to 'I will'--each and every day. It means overcoming your fears with your faith. It means not hiding from yourself and working on yourself. It means always making yourself your first---and best--student. It means you won't let you disappoint yourself. It means knowing that teaching is not an event, but a journey develops day-by-day, not in a day. It means always to be ready to change. It means to accept inconvenience, not falling into a boring routine. It means practice and learn and grow, practice and learn and grow, practice and learn and grow each and every day. It means hang in there come what may. It means a lot more. But, first, last, and only 'committed to teaching,' means no exit strategy, nothing more, nothing less."

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
                                 /     \__/         \/  /  /\ /~\/         \
                          /\/\-/ /^\_____\____________/__/_______/^\
                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

Return to The Complete Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier
Return to the Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier