This idea has been fostering in my head and heart for a while. And I am not sure if I have a clear path to develop it for you, but I will try. Like so many times before, different situations have presented themselves over the last couple of months and I will try to connect those dots to expand on the idea of FAITH.
I am not going to talk about a religious based faith, but the faith we have in people. Some readers might use the word TRUST but I will go to a deeper level.
In our relationships trust is the noun, faith is the verb.
On that note, let me share the life events briefly, and then I will connect them all together:
A workshop on equality in the classroom
Being a dad
An interesting mix, I know. There have been other smaller moments, but these four have presented serious examples for me considering the idea of Faith.
A big moment in the workshop was the section for evaluation of our assumptions. We were presented with an arrangement of situations / questions like, “I assume a good student has a good reason to miss class, while a bad student does not.” Another example, “I treat all Christians the same.” The base goal of the workshop was to challenge our assumptions so that we create a classroom that allows all our students to feel welcomed in. This generated some hard discussions on how we handled situations. And not just for the classroom. People let us down. Students let us down. But do they let us down because we already expect them to? I’ll come back to this…
Dr. Phil and Fatherhood
Just so you know, yes, I watch Dr. Phil. Part of the reason is because he comes up with some direct statements / questions that hit straight to the issue. I will not go in depth about the episode but concentrate on a single question Dr. Phil asked. The episode was about parents who did not like the man their daughter married. Dr. Phil asked the parents, “So, you don’t have faith in how you raised your daughter?”
I have discussed this idea before in an earlier post (Trust Your Foundation), but the emphasis on the idea of faith in Dr. Phil’s question resonated this time. In my own parenting life I am at that junction that I have to have faith in my kids. Both of my boys are now teenagers. They are spending more time with friends, becoming involved in activities, and simply becoming men. Do I have faith in my parenting?
This last example has two components. Yes, at the time of posting this I will not have a job in education for the next school year, but that is a different issue. During one of my interviews I was asked what I expect behavior wise from my students, this was before the workshop (but I love how life will highlight a theme for us). I simply answered that I expect them to be people. I expanded on the idea that we are all works in progress but that I do my best to respect them as individuals and trust they will do their best. I acknowledge that sometimes students let us down, but you keep working toward being the best you can possibly be. Simple put, I try to have faith in my students. I’ll come back to this…
The second component of this example is the feelings I’ve been experiencing through this time of my life. It is normal to wonder what you did wrong or what you said that could change an interview in your favor. You start to think about past jobs and interviews just to compare and contrast the situations. Which brings me to the point of sharing this, I know how empowering it is when someone has faith in you. The late Mr. Monter had faith in me and he expressed that from the interview on. I contacted Mr. Monter on the last day that the English position at Centura was open. He could have said that the position was filled or that they had already finished inteviews, but he didn’t. He asked if I could have my application to him that day. I said yes and got an interview the next week. I thought the interview went well but was not holding my breath because I understood the situation. As I drove home I told myself that Mr. Monter had already decided on a candidate. I was right, but Mr. Monter called me on my way home to offer me the job. He was going to offer the position to someone else he told me. But he said something told him that I was the right person. Through the years working with Mr. Monter he expressed that same level of faith in me and my colleagues. That made us want to be the best teachers we could.
In our relationships trust is the noun, but faith is the verb. When someone expresses their faith in us we rise to the occasion. Yes, I have let people down. Yes, people, students, have let me down. And it hurts when that happens, so we stop doing it. But when we stop having faith in people we start to assume, we start to build relationships on easy to fill boxes. We are all works in progress, but that progress is dependent on someone having a little faith in us. Thank you to everyone who has had faith in me.