Peter Sinclaire once wrote: “Determination, patience and courage are the only things needed to improve any situation”. Determination is something people are driven by without realizing it. It is to strive to do something to make a positive difference in someone’s life. In the book ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers: 101 Stories about How You Make a Difference’, Amy Newmark and Alex Kajitini present the idea that anyone, with determination, can make a difference in the lives of students.
When people are truly determined enough, they can make a difference in someone’s life, or even save someone’s life. ‘Saving Daniel’ was a story about a young boy who was slowly dying due to kidney failure. The students and teacher in his class would sing and dance to keep his morale up. While there were times the teacher wanted to quit teaching, she was reminded that she must stay to help Daniel in his fight. Susan Traugh writes, “I’d go home drained, exhausted, and ready to give up. Except, there was Daniel. I couldn’t give up on Daniel. None of us could” (Newmark and Kajitani, 17). This teacher gives her students a goal for them to work towards until they have met it. She was determined to help make a difference in her students’ lives. Further on in the book, a story named ‘Puppy Therapy’ can contribute to this theme as well. The story is about a teacher who is struggling to get one particular student to be enthusiastic about school. All of her other students could not wait to arrive every day and were ecstatic to come back the next. Jeremy was different though; he had severe learning disabilities and poor social skills. Jeanne Kraus writes: “The kids loved our unique classroom style, and it worked - they were motivated and enthusiastic. Then, one year I was assigned a particularly unreachable student. Jeremy had been born with fetal alcohol syndrome, which probably accounted for his severe learning disabilities” (Newmark, Kajitani, 129). On many occasions, she tried to reach out to Jeremy, but nothing worked until she brought in her puppy. When she did so, Jeremy finally showed some enthusiasm. This particular story shows how the teacher was determined to get all of her students engaged, even if it took a long time. The first and second stories, along with many others in the book, revolve around the big idea that determination can make a difference in the lives of students.
In the end, determination is a trait that can lead to successful teaching. While all teachers might not teach with the same passion, they all have their own motivation and determination. When a teacher is determined, they have the opportunity to teach kids valuable lessons that can improve their education and life overall. In every situation, a teacher always has the opportunity to use his or her determination to impact the lives of students.
- Newmark, Amy, and Alex Kajitani. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers: 101 Stories about How You Make a Difference. Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC, 2017.