Saturday, January 28, 2017

Let Go of the Results

Teaching is daily investment in dozens, even hundreds of lives. 

Our investment in our students does not guarantee 100% returns. 

  • Our offers of kindness are spurned, or mocked.
  • We give: time, help, supplies, kindness. Instead of gratitude, it's taken for granted, and we are expected to give more and more and more.
  • We provide an opportunity to redo past failures, but they let us down again.
  • All our "blood, sweat and tears" come to nothing when a student moves, quits school, or goes to jail.

What do you do when your hopes are dashed?

Some will turn cynical. They will quit investing in lives, quit caring, quit believing. It's easy to understand; you've been burned too many times.

Some will torment themselves with guilt, thinking, "I should have...". That is easy to understand, too. Their failures become our failures when we invest ourselves in them.

Is there another option?


Continue to give. Continue to believe. Continue to offer hope, love, grace, second, third, fourth, and seventy-seventh chances. Maintain your passion. Look at each student as an individual. Invest 100% and more.

Let go of the results.
Let go.

You cannot control the outcome, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't try.

When we care deeply about our students, their failures and betrayals hurt; it becomes personal. That doesn't change. I've shed tears over students; I am guessing that you have too.

Even in the midst of your grief, let go of the results. They aren't up to you. 

As a teen in English class, I contemplated these lines in Tennyson's in "In Memoriam A. H. H."


The joy is in the memory, the investment, the gift of love, the journey. I have many cherished relationships: family, friends, church, colleagues, students, neighbors. Would I rather not have known them than to sorrow when I lose them? Never! The relationships are worth it!

Teachers, we MUST continue to believe, to hope, to care, regardless of the results. 

  • What are the greatest joys and deepest sorrows you've experienced in your teaching career?
  • How do you invest in your students?
  • Can you overcome cynicism and guilt?

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(This blog is a conversation between my good friend (and instructional coach), Mrs. Stephanie Sandrock, and myself. As is often the case, I...