On your worst day on the job, somebody needs you

Most, if not all educators will agree that it is not easy being a teacher. We all know the joys and frustrations that teaching can bring. We know the day-to-day realities and the trials that pop up as we give our best to educate our students, a goal we all share. We also know that it is important to keep a positive attitude that will communicate itself to our students and encourage them as they strive to achieve success. We know this, but it is far easier said than done.

Frankly, on some days it is not easy to keep a positive outlook and a high energy level. So much can happen to override the enthusiasm and joy we once felt every time we set foot in the classroom, that it is easy to find ourselves discouraged. We know this from personal experience.

We do our best and still there is a child who refuses to learn; we work and spend extra time and effort on helping a child with a behavior problem only to see him or her slip back into old habits; we do our best to teach and to inspire only to have someone who does not know the situation criticize and complain; we plan and prepare for learning experiences that will be unique and inspirational only to have those plans dissolve before us when something happens over which we have no control.

Oh, yes, there are so many things that can lessen our enthusiasm. It is extremely easy to get discouraged and allow this discouragement to lead to “teacher burnout” — that state where we go through the motions while the spirit lags behind.

During those times when I feel beat down and discouraged, I reflect on my favorite quote by Larry Bell, “On your worst day on the job, you are still some child’s best hope.”

Somebody needs you!

Somebody needs you to do the very best you can so that they can have a future that is better than their present circumstances. Somebody needs you to challenge their minds so that they can get accepted into an Ivy League school. Somebody needs you to go above and beyond so that they can see firsthand servant leadership. Somebody needs you to show true commitment and caring so that they in turn can care and empathize with others. Somebody needs you to take a stand for him or her when no one else will.

The lessons teachers teach far outreach the classroom. On those days when nothing seems to go right, how you handle the situation can inspire or discourage a child. Being a good communicator is being a good educator. When you think about how you are molding the minds of future, productive citizens and that what you do above all else really matters. Being an educator is not for the faint of heart. You must keep on keeping on because somebody depends on you.

Published by drgoffney

Dr. LaTonya Goffney was named Lufkin ISD Superintendent in 2013. A native of Coldspring, Dr. Goffney began her career as a language arts teacher in Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD. Additionally, she served as assistant principal and principal before serving as superintendent at Coldspring-Oakhurst for five years. Dr. Goffney earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and English, a Master of Education degree in administration, and a Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Leadership, all from Sam Houston State University. In her new role as Superintendent of Lufkin ISD, Dr. Goffney has focused on building community support. She has established an Education Foundation to enhance educational opportunities for all students through innovative teacher grants, a Strategic Planning group involving more than 100 community members and created a Hispanic advisory committee called the Nuestras Madres to connect with the Hispanic mothers in the district. She implemented the Panther Community Forums, which are quarterly meetings to address topics with the community and parents. Dr. Goffney began the Team Lufkin ISD Student Ambassadors, a high school student advisory group to the superintendent. Annually, she hosts Lufkin ISD Evento en Español to inform the Hispanic community of educational opportunities. Dr. Goffney was the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Administrator of the Year Award selected by the faculty of Sam Houston State University College of Education. She was named as one of only 22 members of the 2012-2013 Class of Phi Delta Kappa International Emerging Leaders. The PDK Emerging Leaders program recognizes top educators from across the world. She currently serves on the following civic boards: Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce, The Coalition, and Angelina County Economic Development. She is president-elect of the Texas Council of Women School Executives and was recently elected as recording secretary to the Texas Association of Black School Educators. Dr. Goffney also serves on the Executive Board of the Texas Association of School Administrators. Dr. Goffney is married to Joseph Goffney. They have two children, Joseph, Jr., 14, and Joslyn, 10. Dr. Goffney and her husband, Joseph, have co-authored a book titled All is Well as a tribute to their special needs son. Their story has been featured in several local magazines.

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