Searching for some rejuvenating inspiration for the start of the new academic year and to help you survive until half term, Christmas, and beyond? Good – so was I; so I dug deep, my Vicar of Dibley ‘altar’ ego came to the fore, and for my Sunday Sermon this week I’m coming up with this as a starting point for a teaching work ethic this term:
The good book says…
“Go to the ant, you lazy one; see its ways and become wise.”
“Slackness will not start up one’s game animals, but the diligent one is a man’s precious wealth.”
“Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.”
“Whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled.”
“Exert yourselves vigorously.”
“Have you beheld a man skilful in his work? Before kings is where he will station himself; he will not station himself before commonplace men.”
So, 1) Work hard and enjoy it for the job it is and why you chose it – put the effort in up-front and it will pay off later. Growth mindset at its finest! We all know that you get more out of something if you put more in. At least that’s what I need to keep telling myself anyway. Challenges will come up and keep coming up, and we have to keep rolling our sleeves up and rising to them. So you might as well face the music and dance.
“The hardworking farmer must be the first to partake of the fruits.”
“There is nothing better than that the man (or woman) should rejoice in his (or her) works.”
“One should eat and drink and see good for all his (or her) hard work.”
“Every man (or woman) should eat and indeed drink and see good for all his (or her) hard work.”
“Better is a handful of rest than a double handful of hard work and striving after the wind.”
Therefore, 2) Play hard – take a break and take time to reward yourself for your hard work, celebrate your successes, your team and school successes, and of course student achievements! Have you booked your next holiday yet? Where are you going and when? Have something to look forward to, go and enjoy it, then come back refreshed and ready to get stuck in again.
But, be careful, because…
“The renegading of the inexperienced ones is what will kill them.”
So, 3) Learn from the experienced – choose some good role models, attend teachmeets, take charge of your own CPD and enjoy it, share/learn/chat on Twitter, follow and read edu-blogs and edu books. Don’t want to be a statistic? Then don’t just quit and leave after your first year or when the going gets tough. Get some support from somewhere, ask for advice, learn from your mistakes, stick it out and grow. You can do it!
And, if you have time to feel disgruntled, empty, or a ‘what’s it all about’ kind of feeling…
“For what does a man come to have for all his hard work and for the striving of his heart with which he is working hard under the sun? For all his days his occupation means pains and vexation, also during the night his heart just does not lie down. This too is mere vanity.”
Which implies to me, 4) Find meaning – focus on the individual students you are helping. You have no idea in what ways you are making a difference and sowing seeds that will bloom later in ways you might never see but be totally responsible for. Be proud of that and know that this is what really matters.
In summary then: work hard, play hard, learn from the experienced, and find meaning.
What deep and meaningful thoughts are underpinning your work ethic for teaching this term? Please share in comments below.