Tuesday, September 24, 2019
In a little over a week I will eulogize a person who impacted my teaching and teaching philosophy more than anyone in my career. As I waded through a sea of emotions while writing my final words to my friend, I kept coming back to the same idea: Max made his life matter Even in death, Max challenged me.
Does my life matter? Do I teach in such a way that kids are engaged? Do kids know I care? As teachers, these questions may swirl in our minds often. At least I think they should. When I'd voice my doubts about being an effective teacher to Max, he'd ask me if I tried my best, if I put my all into it, and if I was prepared. I usually had. He said if my answer was affirmative, that was the best I could do.
Most people go into teaching because they want to make a difference or because they like kids. Most people leave teaching because they don't feel valued, supported, or appreciated. Max made it his mission to try to retain quality teachers in schools He was passionate about teachers' rights and worked relentlessly when he felt they were violated.
Max left an indelible mark on policy and people connected with education. I know his question for me and all of us would be What mark have you made?
I won't forget Max. He taught me to be self-reflective. To ask myself the tough questions and make sure I'm in this job for the right reasons. We all need a Max in our lives. Look around and find someone you trust and who will ask you the hard questions and be honest with you.
Be like Max and make your life count. It'll make a world of difference.