My son has been looking for epic music on youtube and listens to these amazing one hour mixes of music while he is writing papers for his honors English class. I've embedded the video below and played it while writing this post.
(Equally breathtaking are the graphics which the YouTube creator says he made with “alphacoders.” )
Do we have epic moments?
I had one Sunday as I ran at the school. I looked over the school, snapped a picture of a tremendously beautiful cloud and posted it to the school's Facebook page.
Listening to this music inspires me to be more. It helps me realize that I am pushing forward towards something excellent.
As I ran 2 miles last night between dropping my son off at Tae Kwon Do and our Flat Classroom Certified Teachers meeting, I was listening to another song, Citizen Soldier, and a line intrigued me because it made me think of so many of you teachers I know:
“The strongest among you may not wear a crown.”
Yes! This is you!
We know that teachers are front and center of a debate raging across continents about what a good education looks like and who is going to “find” the magic formula.
The magic formula doesn't exist because I doubt you'll ever be able to mass produce greatness unless….
Unless teachers and parents concentrate their very being on finding the greatness within every child. Concentrate on HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE and teach them self discipline and hard work.
So many people want something for nothing.
They want a great education for all students without having to spend money…without having to work hard… something that every person can do.
Greatness isn't easy. Epic isn't manufactured; it is earned one bead of sweat at a time.
I remember two years a go our football team was struggling – we lost all but two games and the ones we lost were less than 3 points a piece. It was a struggle and hard. But the boys and coaches decided to start coming in and working out at 6 am three mornings a week beginning in January. Voluntary choices to become better.
We are now 18-0. We won state football last year and are working hard to go for it this year. It is becoming epic.
Epic doesn't just happen. It is often born out of incredible failure. IN fact, if you're already good or great – getting greater may not be as epic as if you are at the very bottom of everything and fighting merely to stay alive.
We dream of epic.
We hope for epic. Epic is something we all want to live.
But teachers, listen to me now (and I hope you're listening to that music too) – you have the ability for your career to be epic. You can be a hero. Go into that classroom and teach every period you are assigned to teach. Don't sit down. Never read a magazine.
Stay engaged with your class. Don't go behind your desk while you have students. Your job is your students – TEACH. When you disengage, you zap the life out of the room. Be part of the learning process. IF they are working, you should be working the room. If they are reading, you should be moving through the room seeing if they have questions. Read with them in the circle – the same thing. Be approachable.
At the end of my life, I hope and pray that there will be many students and teachers, educators and parents who have been encouraged to see the nobility in what we are doing every day to raise a new generation to inhabit our world. What can be more epic than that?
Now I must depart, my friends, for hills and vales unknown.
I am not on a battlefield and yet I pray for greatness to be shown
amid the learning, energy, and excitement in my students' minds.
Insurmountable it seems to reach them all, I'll leave none of them behind
but will look within their very heart to find what each does best
I'll contemplate those “showing out” and ponder them as I rest.
I'll love them and give myself until my life is done
if any life can be epic, a teacher's life is the one.
Be noble. Do RIGHT by your students. Be EXCELLENT. Work HARD. Never quit. Be a great teacher. I'm proud of you.
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