When I think back to the time we had our first meeting as Snyder Fellows, I can distinctly remember Coach Snyder talking about his time as a teacher. My eager little ears perked up, as I knew I was finishing up my last year of my education degree. During our fireside chat with Coach, he began to tell us about he started teaching Spanish right out of college. Though he did know some Spanish, he talked about how rough it was teaching this subject because it wasn’t something he was proficient in. He worked hard every day to make sure he was putting his best effort forth to teach his students. During my first year of teaching, I feel like I was thrown into a similar situation.
I graduated from Kansas State in May of 2016. I was excited to get back to my alma mater, Salina Central, and teach high school journalism. My passion for journalism education started in those very classrooms, and my journalism teacher, J.D. Garber, was who I would be teaching alongside. During the summer I was preparing for my classes, thinking I was going to be teaching all broadcast journalism classes. Boy, was I wrong. When I finally received the schedule of classes I would be teaching, I saw I had six sections of a class called ‘Career and Life Planning.’ My immediate reaction was, “How am I supposed to teach kids about how to plan their career and life, while I am still trying to figure mine out?”
At this moment I knew I had to change my mindset. I was ready for this. I have the perfect set of tools: Coach Snyder’s 16 Goals. It was time for my to use these to master what Coach himself did so long ago in that Spanish classroom. It was time for me to become Miss Dinkel.
Being Miss Dinkel means the focus and motivation I had as a student now has to be instilled in the eager but sometimes insecure high schoolers I see each day. Many of them show up in my room with different abilities and personalities, but when they leave they take with them a no-self limitations attitude.
As a member of the inaugural class of Bill Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows I was taught life goals that would shape me as a person and as a leader in the classroom. Choosing one of Coach Snyder’s goals meant picking a slogan I could live my life by but also share with my students. Goal #12 “No-Self Limitations” to me meant to forget the impossible. It also meant to rise up to any challenge because many of us can accomplish way more than we ever expected.
Being Miss Dinkel in my first year teaching was hard and required me put in extra time to share this philosophy and vision with my students. Posting it around the room and having students define themselves with Coach Snyder’s goal was my first shot at making a difference. It was received with no angst and sparked the start of me using his goals in all my classes.
In the fall of this school year my vision seemed to finally strike a cord with one of my students. Junior Kamryn Arnold was unsure of her abilities at best when we first met a little over a year ago but after being a part of her national recognition for award-winning design at the National Scholastic Press Association Convention I saw in her what I had seen so many years ago in myself. She had developed that no-self limitations attitude, worked extremely hard towards a goal and when she was done it was clear that her insecurities were gone.
It was clear after my first small victory towards instilling my vision in my students that the work ahead was within reach but that my journey was far from over. I can still use each of these goals to improve myself, and hopefully pass it on to all of my current and future students.