I don’t watch American Idol looking for inspiration towards the teaching profession. But I found it the other night. Contestant Nicholas Mathis went on stage looking very defeated and full of doubt, and his performance was lack luster because of it. After Mathis finished, Idol judge Keith Urban made the following remark to him about musicians, but I believe it applies even more for teachers:
“There’s a lot that pulls at you in this calling. And somehow we have to compartmentalize that and when we wake up at three a.m. in the morning on a tour bus and we wonder ‘What are we doing here,’ and we just cry, the only answer can ever be ‘This is what I was born to do. This is my calling.’” - Keith Urban
Except for teachers instead of 3am, it’s 3pm, and instead of a tour bus it’s a classroom.
The judges voted Mathis off after that appearance, and if we show up to the classroom like Mathis showed up to Idol, then we are likely to be voted off by our students. We cannot show up to a class looking defeated – your students deserve a teacher who is positive and professional. So you need to figure out how you are going to intrepret the things that happen in your class in such a way that keeps you positive and happy. Realizing that you were born to do this, well, that is just one way.