Viktor Frankl once claimed that “if you don’t recognize man’s search for meaning, you make him worse; you make him dull; you make him frustrated. While if you presuppose in this man there must be a spark of search for meaning … then you will elicit it from him, and you will make him become what he in principle is capable of becoming.” This philosophy reveals how deeply connected we are when it comes to learning and progress. Because of this, we have a collective responsibility to envision the best in one another no matter the circumstance.
My unconditional belief in my students’ potential to shape and better our world is the foundation of why I love teaching. Providing an environment where students wrestle with big ideas affords them the opportunity to wonder, reflect, and when necessary adapt. Yet, taking advantage of “teachable moments” can and should extend well beyond the classroom. Claiming that educators, legislators, business executives, community leaders, or parents fail to do enough keeps us fragmented and stagnant. Instead, we should strive to closely observe and listen to one another, embracing our desires and emphasizing our talents.
Learning and change are about possibility, and these do not occur in a vacuum. As John Dewey asserted, education requires active, individual participation in a social setting. My passion for being my best and drawing out the best from others does not mean that I avoid disappointment, frustration, or loss. In fact, when I encounter adversity, I rely on my relationships to rekindle my hope and to grow from our shared experiences. Understanding the necessity of faith in others is powerful. Teaching ourselves to continually seek, recognize, and ignite our potential means that we work together to improve and enhance our world.