“Grandma, can you turn on the nightlight?” My granddaughter does not like the dark. When she spends the night – she needs to see the light. I told her that I am the same way. I do not like the darkness. I like to see the light.
I listened to Kathleen Budge at the ASCD Empower 19 conference. She talked about the stereotypes of people in poverty. I knew that these stereotypes were just that - stereotypes. I knew they were not true of many people in a situation of poverty. Once I began my teaching career, I saw the light even more clearly than before. I saw how children were loved and how parents were striving to make a better life for their kids. I came into contact with families dealing with all kinds of tough situations. Yes, I saw people from ALL walks of life with characteristics of what was professed of those in poverty. I saw the light.
In preparation for my teaching career, I learned about behavior management and techniques for dealing with “difficult” children. When I stepped into my own classroom, I began to see the light. It was less about what I did and more about the relationships I built. I could see that certain relationships brought light into the world of a child. I saw the light.
Kathleen Budge talked about the moral purpose for being a teacher. Having a moral purpose can make teachers more resilient. Budge pointed out that a moral purpose also needs some success. I knew working day after day to meet the needs of all types of students, dealing with constant testing, not being valued by leadership, implementing initiatives without any voice, state grades… it’s hard- this dims the light or puts one into darkness. People with a moral purpose need to see some light.
How do we provide that light for children in our schools? We must have high expectations for ALL students. This gives them a light. These expectations set them on a journey. We are the guide leading them out of low expectations for themselves and helping them to discover what they can achieve. When we advocate on behalf of our children, we are providing a light – a light of change, a light to what is right and just. When teachers have the courage to take action, to fight on behalf of children – they are a light, a beacon of hope. When we care enough to develop relationships, we bring light into hearts. When we provide a climate and culture of caring about our school family – staff and students, we bring light into our schools.
As we develop York, we also consider the light of Christ. We seek to provide an environment of unconditional love. Our goal is to provide a climate and culture of caring relationships, forgiveness, acceptance, and hope.
“You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.” (2 Samuel 22:29)
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1)
“The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”(Romans 13:12)
I saw the light. It gives me a safe and warm feeling. I want to keep my eyes fixed on that light because darkness scares me. Let the LIGHT be my guide.