Give Yourself Away

I am waking up this morning at a hotel in the shadow of Kyle Field in College Station. It is a vast structure that gives an aura of dignity that is rare among football stadiums.

On games days, it is packed with excited fans engaged in a collective effort to cheer on their team to victory. While I have never been to a game at the stadium, it seems familiar from all the games I have seen on TV.

Watch any game played at Kyle Field and you will notice Aggie fans standing the entire game. This is a throwback to 1922 and a game when King Gill, a former Aggie player was called out of the stands to suit up and join his school’s team which had been decimated with injuries.

The Call to Do More, Give More

We stand at the forefront of a new school year, one that promises to be unlike any in the past 100 years. As teachers, we often feel we have too many hats to wear, and each year when we return we find the district has a new collection of Stetsons waiting for us. Saddle up teachers, you will be asked to do more this year.

Many of us wonder, how we can give more than we already do?

As a teacher, I often think about the U2 song, With or Without You. There is a refrain in the song I think many of us can relate to:

And you give yourself away

And you give yourself away

And you give

And you give

And you give yourself away

With or Without You

When There is Nothing Left to Give

At the end of the school day, I feel like I have nothing left to give. The tank is bone dry, and there are not even fumes to run on. Sometimes on those days, I will be stopped on the stairs by a student or teacher earnestly in need of the kind of help I can offer.

By the time I hit the stairs at the end of the day, mentally I have already pulled off my teacher’s jersey, and have started the transition to the quiet guy who likes to wear old t-shirts and is not bothered by teenagers glued to their phones.

Even a the end of the day, when we are sure there is nothing left, we give, we help, and in doing so, we find an a source of energy we rarely tap. For me, that energy comes from ignoring myself and helping people.

Stepping Up at Game Time

We will be called to do that all year and in ways we have never before considered. Like King Gill, we need to put our jerseys back on and be ready to get in the game.

We will all have to do more than in the past and under the most challenging circumstances. How we fare in this year will prove our character or show us where we are lacking.

Consider the words of Martin Luther King, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Changing Dynamics

The changing dynamics of the student-teacher relationship is only one side of the new challenge. Another, equally important aspect of the job is the relationship between teachers.

More than any other professional relationship, I am convinced that teachers need to stand together in support of each other. We need to be intentional in reaching out to our fellow teachers. Be ready to help, and equally important, be ready to ask for help.

It’s going to be a bumpy year. We will need each other if we are to be successful.

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