Always and Never

One of the best things about teaching school are the many beginnings and endings, which provide opportunities to refine, adjust, and amend courses of action. Coming back after the holidays spurs reflections on past experiences and goal setting for the new year. This is the time we consider what is possible and renew our determination to make a difference in the lives of the students we teach.

Photo of Delaina Lewis, Math Teacher at Vistas High School, Klein ISD

Delaina Lewis, Math Teacher at Vistas High School, Klein ISD.

This summer the Holdsworth staff had the cohort engage in a simple yet profound activity called I will always and I will never. What made the activity so profound was the inherent strength of the words always and never. Neither of the words leave any room for interpretation. By definition, these two words demand commitment and reject compromise. As I began to draft my list, I realized that my statements had the power to create a sense of security and comfort in my classroom. I was making a promise about the actions I would take as a leader and the environment each student could expect as they entered my room.

As educators we strive to create a safe environment that promotes learning, questioning, risk-taking and problem solving. We work to build relationships so that we can understand strengths, weaknesses, and identify obstacles that could impede progress. But most importantly, we aim to inspire.

There is no greater joy than when former students reach out to thank us for the positive impact we have made on their lives. Never do they comment on the extraordinary lesson I taught on the Pythagorean theorem or the mind-blowing unit I developed over trigonometry. Instead, they always comment on my refusal to give up on them and my insistence that they put forth their best effort into all work. In other words, they confirm my always and never actions.

I encourage you to contemplate the following:

  • What are the actions you will ALWAYS do?
  • What are the actions you will NEVER do?
  • And, what would the impact be if your campus engaged in this activity collectively?


This article originally appeared on The Exchange (Klein ISD).