#Classroom Community, Character Education, PLC, Recipes, Self Care

Remembering your Purpose

Being a teacher comes with wearing many different hats. Today’s educators are instructors, counselors, social workers, behavioral specialists, special educators, nurses, and much more. These different roles can cause a teacher to feel overwhelmed or to struggle. So, it is time, in the late days of October when the weather causes inside recess more often; to reflect on your PURPOSE as an educator.

I watched two contestants on a singing competition who had both overcome great tragedy in their childhood and early adult life and were now on national TV. As they entered their first coaching session with superstars one of them looked at the other and said “There is a reason I am here so that some little girl can see someone like them who made it here and there is a reason you are here so that some little boy can see someone like them who made it here. Let’s go fulfill our purpose.” WOW…it was emotional and inspiring to watch people overcoming adversity, recognizing their power, and seeking to give back. So, we teachers need to take a breath and remind ourselves of our purpose. Here are a few words for thought:

  1. There is a child in your class who needs you. You…specifically you…to show them the way. Most likely they are your biggest challenge. So, remember your purpose!
  2. Take time to self-correct. I shared this amazing clip from the Ellen show when teaching a character lesson on helpfulness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QntBkDFkiuY&disable_polymer=true In it, the boys were noted for having the presence of mind to “self correct”. What are you doing that needs some self correcting? Complaining too much, overworking yourself, staying mired in the “admin says I have to” mindset….whatever it is self correct and remember your purpose.
  3. Be kind. Everybody is going through a struggle you know nothing about – be kind always. This quote is so important in our world today. Be intentionally kind to kids, parents, teammates, yourself – whether or not they deserve it or ask for it. Remember your purpose.
  4. Focus on your world inside your classroom. Never forget that there is ALWAYS more work than you can do in a day. You can always get caught up in the million issues outside your doors. So, re-focus on your classroom and remember your purpose.
  5. Remember to laugh. Sometimes you have to laugh so you don’t cry. That is absolutely true and sometimes you really do need to just have a good laugh (or a good cry) and remember your purpose.

Now – a vegetable with several purposes is the Zucchini. You may want to ask me “Why are you talking about zucchini all of the sudden?” That was an odd jump, I know! I am talking about zucchini because of my new obsession – zucchini bread. Zucchini can be savory or sweet. Zucchini has many purposes in the kitchen – just like a teacher does at school. So, here is my favorite recipe for zucchini bread – seriously delish! Enjoy!

Zucchini Bread

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Decide on your pan (traditional loaf or mini-loaf pans). Then, get your zucchini ready. I think the easiest way is to put it into your food processor until it is in little tiny bits. You can also grate it – but that takes forever…so go with the food processor.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 – 1 t. fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. vegetable oil (not olive oil)
  • 2 1/4 c. white granulated sugar
  • 3 t. vanilla extract (real not imitation)
  • 2 c. grated (see directions above) zucchini
  • OPTIONAL – 1 c. nuts (walnuts or pecans are best) and/or 1/2 c. of raisins
  1. After you have grated your zucchini – set it to the side.
  2. Into a stand mixer or large mixing bowl (with a hand mixer) put your eggs, oil, and granulated sugar. Mix these for a good 2 – 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in flour with salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. NOW – I am not a sifter – but in theory – you should sift these together. What I do is measure out 1 c. of the flour and put the salt, baking soda, and baking powder on top. Then I mix that in fully. I then add in one more cup of flour with the cinnamon on top and mix that in fully. Finally, I add in the third cup of flour with the ground nutmeg on top (which I grate myself with a microplane) and mix that in fully.
  4. Add in your vanilla and zucchini – the batter will seem super thick and weird until you add in the zucchini. Magically, it will loosen up and form this sticky, amazing batter.
  5. Finally, if your kids are not picky like mine are – fold in the nuts and/or raisins. If your kids are picky – make one loaf pan WITH and one loaf pan without. (I pour out the batter without the good stuff in it first into a pan I have sprayed with cooking spray). Then, I add in my nuts/raisins to the leftover batter in my mixing bowl and pour that into the other loaf pan. The beauty of this is you get one whole loaf pan basically to yourself…since the kids will only eat when desperate.
  6. Bake for 40-60 min. until the center comes out clean. This bread is NOT great undercooked (like I suggested with banana bread). So, make sure it is cooked all the way. The top gets super crunchy, toasty brown, and delicious.
  7. NOW – if you are going for the “Be Kind” step up top – take it to work and share with your friends. If you are going for the “Remember to laugh”, then hide it in your kitchen and laugh while nobody else gets any! 🙂

We all have a purpose in the world. Zucchini has MANY purposes – which is why it is a delicious choice! What is your purpose in the world and how do you remind yourself of it? While you eat your zucchini bread – take some time to figure out your purpose right now, right here, in this place in your life and education career.

1 thought on “Remembering your Purpose”

  1. As one who has taught for many years, in different venues, I hope to share a different perspective. Thankfully, I have met some instructors and coaches who seem different from the crowd. They think outside the box. *This is just one perspective. I have viewed my career from the perspective of simplicity. I teach, the kids learn, but I encourage them, through the process, to think for themselves. As I shared with a class, I encourage them to think for themselves, even challenge my views with respect. When they do, they must support their views. Why do you think this? If you have a view, it will be challenged by your teacher. The purpose being to bring the best ideas to the fore, which is something young people need to learn. But there’s no fluffy person teaching. They know I care for them, but that care requires them to be responsible. That care requires them to work hard. That care comes with challenges. I remember one student who was having some serious difficulties as he was living with his caring and strong grandmother, his parents out of the picture for the time. He wanted very much to be with his parents. On a couple of days, we talked. Well, he talked and I listened (I had also talked with his grandmother.). All I wanted to communicate was his teacher would listen and was listening. But I explained to him, it’s okay to want things to be different, but while things were as they are, it was important for him to get the best education and prepare for life ahead. His grandmother cared, in a tough love kind of way, and I would not be a teddy bear. But he knew, outside the class, he could talk to me anytime. In class, he had work to do. And you know what? His grandmother told me he was getting happier at home, that he never got honor roll before (First time), and I encouraged her to get him in sports to provide an outlet (He also wanted to become a chef, so I suggested him cooking meals at home, something he wanted to do.). He never got the feeling I felt sorry for him. He knew I cared, but that his life would be determined by the effort he put into it. A life lesson.

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