Growing up in the desert region of Texas, I never questioned the reason to serve and obtain knowledge from everything and everyone around me. The two people who formed me instilled this desire: my parents.
My parents never had an opportunity at a formal education. My father, an only child, was pulled out of elementary school during his third grade year in school. During the depression era, everyone had to contribute to keep food on the table. My mother was born into the life of a migrant-farm worker. Her education started every year a month after her peers and the ending date was always two months earlier than everyone else in her grade level.
Because of this, my parents instilled the value of education on each one of their children. We were never allowed to disrespect authority, however, they pushed us to think beyond the realms of what was introduced to us by our teachers on a daily basis. It was a requirement for all of us to be prepared to discuss current events every night at the dinner table. Often times, this would turn into a lively debate!
By the time I reached first grade I was already reading and writing because I felt the need to keep up with my older sisters. My parents patiently worked with my demands to learn as much as I could from them. I never realized that my parents were lacking from a formal education. They took it upon themselves to push and learn as much as they could on their own. They set the example of daily reading, writing, and working with subjects. When I begin to realize that both my parents had to work extra hard just to catch up with the lack of formal education it still sparks a fire in me to learn as much as I can. As an older teacher, I recognize that I should never stop growing. I have to keep up and keep pushing myself to do better than the previous day. If I do not meet this expectation, then I am letting down my own parents, my students, and my peers.
The most significant contribution to education is to push others and myself to keep learning without fear and regret. I spend all my time reading, writing, chatting, and communicating with my parents. Some often worry that I will burn myself out, but to me, it all stems from the inevitable seed planted deep within me by two people who never had a chance to acquire a formal education, however, that was never an excuse for them to keep learning. I honor my parents, students, and my profession by continuing my passion to live a life that promotes growth mindset.
Within this growth mindset, I see my present and former students meeting and exceeding the expectations placed in front of them.
When a person is valued and honored for who they are, they have a tendency to go beyond what an IQ test says that they can achieve. They learn that if they push, they can achieve and kick down any wall placed in front of them. All it takes is to be loved, affirmed, respected, and anyone can do it. It’s the growth mindset that pushes all of us to go beyond the boundaries of limitations place on others, and ourselves so we always say, “WE BELIEVE!”