Friday, July 19, 2013

Make it a good day

My father's fond of saying "Make it a good day," as opposed to the more common "have a good day." He started saying it a few years ago. 

Verbs drive language. They convey action and do the heavy lifting of expressing thought. My father understands this, for once he explained what prompted him to change the verb from "have" to "make." As he explained it, making implies action and movement--doing something. He figured that "have" sounded too weak and passive to work as a statement of encouragement and that "make" sounds stronger. Indeed it is. We possess within ourselves to make every day as good or bad as we want it. He says "Make it a good day," as an encouraging statement as well as a command, or perhaps an encouraging command. According to him, he dislikes the idea of things "happening" to him, and so he changed his tune because he knew he couldn't sit back and let life happen to him. 

It's important to remember this idea as teachers. Our classes are what we make of them. Our students look to us for guidance and for that, we owe it to ourselves to provide the best classroom experience possible. Not only that, but we should remember that our thoughts determine our actions, so we must stay positive as well. It is not always easy, especially in the ever-fluctuating sphere of the school and the classroom, but it is necessary. Growth doesn't happen without challenge, and making every day good stands as the goal to meet. 

While my father's words echoed in my head in the States, I don't think they fully sank in until I landed at Incheon Airport nearly 2 years ago. I had just turned 25 and had arrived in a new country to begin a new chapter of life. Then as well as now, there is more to life than simply staying afloat: To float would be to not stand tall and take ownership of life here. To let things "happen" would mean not taking charge of life in and out of the classroom. I'd been hired to do a job and to do it well. Doing a job well by letting things "happen" does not compute. Jobs are done well because of action and resolve. And with the ink on the 3rd contract signed, sealed, and delivered, I must strive to making a good life here for myself, the students, and for the larger community. 

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