• Aaron Daffern

Take CHARGE of the Classroom #17: Purpose

This is post #17 in a 20-post series designed to disrupt outdated behavior management models and help you create the classroom culture of your dreams. This post contains excerpts from my book Take CHARGE of the Classroom.

What’s your fuel? What’s your purpose? If things get tough, what do you do?

If you could say without a shadow of a doubt, if you knew that you knew that you knew, that teaching is what you were supposed to do, it would be a source of great strength. The first step in taking charge is confidence. The first step in confidence is purpose. When you can walk into your room each day with the assurance that you’re where you’re supposed to be, that you are doing what you were made to do, that knowledge would give you an underlying sense of swagger that would propel you through even the most difficult times.

Are you willing to struggle through all the idiocy that comes from central office (or the front office) for the sake of your students?

What are you willing to sacrifice to give your students a fighting chance? Your time? Your money? Your emotional reserves?

What injustices gnaw at you? What do you see in your students or in your community that drives you to show up each morning at 7:00 am, rain or shine?

Teaching is not for the faint of heart. It isn’t fun most of the time.

But it matters. More than you will ever know.

To make the changes necessary to take charge of your classroom and to take charge of each moment with your students, you’re going to need to unlearn. A lot.

You will be asked to try things that make you uncomfortable and that you doubt will work.

These things will work but they’re hard. There are no silver bullets in education, but if you have a solid purpose, if you know why you are a teacher, then let that be the fuel to guide you through this journey.

Because without fuel you’ll never reach the end.

What can you do tomorrow?

Claim your purpose. Write a short statement that describes why you are a teacher and what you hope to accomplish. Think about your motivation for continuing even when things get tough.

Ground yourself. Every morning before school, look into your mirror and tell yourself why you are a teacher. Repeat it again and again until it becomes a mantra.

What does this look like in the classroom?

Classroom tasks are designed with purpose to support student learning by:

· Reflecting students’ cultures and interests;

· Stretching students