One of my favorite quotes is from Marianne Williamson:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Being a teacher, I am all about encouraging children to shine. I acknowledge original ideas, praise clever thinking, and look for ways to bring out the best in each child in my classroom. I tell my students that each one of us is different, with varied interests, talents, and experiences, and that this is what makes our classroom community strong.
One of my strengths as a teacher is allowing each child to develop his or her own personality – I do not insist that my children conform to my notions of what makes an “ideal” student. I try to nurture my students’ passions for music, art, reading, writing, math, science and history while making sure that each child feels special, loved, and cared for in my classroom. It is most important to me that my students know I care about the wonderful people they are now and the amazing people they will become. My favorite elementary school teacher? Mrs. Thompson – the one who loved me in my fifth grade year.
So, having devoted the last 14 (actually, 13 1/2) years to being the best teacher I can be and trying to make a difference in the lives of the countless children with whom I have crossed paths, I now turn my attention to the little child I was, the one who wanted to shine but didn’t know how.