Often the path we end up on is not the path we started down. I think this happens when we forget why we started down the road to begin with. It happens to all of us in different aspects of our lives. Recently, I started doubting my career choice. My students think I am a good teacher. Their parents think I am a good teacher. Every other teacher that has ever observed me teach thinks I am a good teacher. My administrator, however, does not seem to agree. I have never received what I would consider a positive review. She only seems to see negatives when observing me and has never written a positive comment in my reviews. I became obsessed with trying to get a good review. I gave up coaching softball, partially because of time constraints, but also because I wanted to focus on teaching and planning. I have been miserable in my job the past year and a half because my objective became to get a good review from my principal. In fact, in my most recent review I overcame every criticism she had in my previous review and, still, received no written positives in my observation report. This is not self-pity. In fact, there are many others who receive the same types of observations, but this is not even about my review. This is about my focus.
A friend and co-worker said something this week that is gradually sinking in to this thick skull of mine. Maybe I should stop worrying about about what someone else thinks about my teaching and worry more about what God thinks of my teaching. My focus used to be on students. It used to be on developing the relationships that are presented before me and changing the lives of those I come in contact with. When my focus became more centered on myself and my evaluations, I lost my direction and my motivation.
How many of us have become discouraged or unmotivated because our focus has shifted from our original good intent to that of our own glory, pride or otherwise personal reward. Whether it is in our career, our ministry or our family, our focus often has to be readjusted form time to time.
Truth be told, doing the right thing is never enough. Doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason is paramount to maintaining focus and the only way to stay on the path towards our original ideals. I am not saying to not do the right thing because your motivation might be wrong. Adjust your motivation. Adjust your focus.