Finding your niche….early on

ImageThe Day We Tore the Goal Post down………

we will have these moments to remember………

School days are the foundation for wonderful memories and the beginning of a successful journey in life.  Much depends on finding your niche, early on.  The first step on the path is learning to obey the rules—the school rules and the particular teacher’s rules.  Playing the renegade, early in life, usually leads to disappointment, failure.  There’ll be plenty of time in the future to be a trend setter.  First establish yourself.  Make a name for yourself.  And, make that name stand out–in a good way.  Teachers encountered along the way and the schools you attend are major building blocks to achieving one’s potential.  Most important, it is up to you to play by the rules while finding your niche.   


First and foremost, teachers are people; they are human. It would be impossible to feel the same about every student. To be that dispassionate, one would have to be a robot. Teaching is a profession and, as such, needs to be enacted professionally. This is not a natural ability, but a learned process—the desire to effect learning in the class. It is important to bear in mind that teachers have bosses. They have a set of rules and an environment by which they need to abide; i.e., curriculum. With an educated and open-minded teacher, thinking first of how best to structure the mandated curriculum for their unique class is the challenge. Thinking about the curriculum is really asking questions about identity—national identity and individual identity—same as any skilled orator knows their audience. This would answer the evaluation question:  Not, “Did the student succeed in learning,” but “Did the teacher succeed in teaching?” There are different approaches to curriculum that have been argued back/forth for years as social conditions changed and schools were asked to respond to differing local or national conditions. As historian and long-time school leader Larry Cuban notes, there are at least two different, but nevertheless, lined curricula: The official curriculum, and the taught curriculum. Therefore, it is up to the individual teacher to use good judgment and learned skills to assess the given class, and play the cards she/he is dealt with the assigned class of students. The more informed the teacher, the more successful the class environment.

Hidden Curriculum – A Teacher is consistently more pleasant and accommodating to certain students:

It is only natural that a teacher would be more apt to be pleasant to the student who is trying, who works hard, and pays attention vs. a disruptive, underachiever. However, if the pleasantness was given to an English speaking student vs. one of an ethnic background, then that would not be acceptable or professional. Of course, sometimes, getting to the root of a disruptive child’s behavior might be possible with background knowledge and trying to talk to the child. My first “Field Observation” class was a sixth grade, Special Needs Math group. One boy was especially out of sorts. The teacher took the time to privately speak with him and ask what was the matter. When she could not elicit a responsive explanation, she very kindly directed him to go and speak to the school’s counselor. Obviously, this was a very routine and approved action—one the child was not made to fear, but rather welcome.   He returned to class and was much better. The teacher, in days gone by, would have, perhaps, punished, spoken loudly to the student, or may have belittled by putting him in the corner or using the proverbial “dunce cap.”  Today, thank God, the education system, though not perfect, has come a long way in understanding differences, needs, and how to educate their teachers—not only expect grade results.  I believe this teacher’s clearly skilled kindness of manner, and the school’s curriculum allowed for a seemingly routine solution for such problems.

Some specific accomplishments receive more visibility than others:

This is repeatedly demonstrated with sports. The Football Star is, and always has been, the Homecoming King and the cheerleader the Queen. Some are not bothered by these distinctions; some want to be part of it and do not know how to affect the belonging. I knew I wanted to be a part of this echelon and was fortunate enough to possess the intrapersonal skills and bodily kinesthetics to accomplish my place—but this, too, took a lot of hard work. I found my niche. I loved the hours of arduous, coordinated calisthenics.

The same or similar students are voted into positions of recognition:

True enough. I believe it is a lesson on how the real world operates!  Play by the rules. Establish yourself as a good student.  Find what you love to do best, and do it to the best of your ability. Then, go for it!  Success will follow you through your school years (and beyond).

Look for the proverbial Brass Ring.  Find your niche (personal talent).  Work towards, not perfection, but excellence.   Recognition and financial rewards will surely follow.

It is only work

If you’d rather

Be doing something else.


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