The word purpose comes from Anglo-French roots purpos/porpos and translates as ‘aim’, ‘intention’, ‘goal’ and ‘to put forth’. I believe purpose underpins everything I do as a human being, from being a daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend, teacher and a colleague. I do everything with and for a purpose. To be truthful, I find it rather difficult to do things without purpose.
I’ve always needed to know why. As a child, I needed to know why my Stretch Armstrong was so stretchy, so I poked holes in him with a pin to find out. I needed to know how the Sylvanian Family animals were put together, so I peeled away their fuzzy skin to see. I always asked questions. I think this curiosity has developed into a need for purpose as I’ve grown. I need to understand how something is put together, how it works and how this translates into a purpose.
I need a purpose for what I do. Otherwise, what’s the point? If I’m teaching a scheme of work to my class, I need to know the purpose. What are the desired outcomes? Why am I doing this? How does it benefit the children? If I’m delivering CPD to my colleagues I need to make the purpose clear – I need to explain concisely how this CPD will develop them as professionals and how it can be used in practice.
What is a teacher without purpose?
I have a purpose – to teach my pupils and help them grow and develop into kind, knowledgable humans. I have a purpose as a daughter and a sister to pull my weight within out family unit and support everyone as they have supported me. I have a purpose as a girlfriend to be a life partner for someone else, whose needs will sometimes come before my own. I have a purpose as a friend to put into those relationships what I desire to get out of them. I have so many purposes that it makes my head spin.
Purpose is the reason for which something is done. Why do I do all of those things listed above? I do them so that I can share my knowledge and skills with others. I do them so that I can make other people happy and feel content. I do them so that I can feel like the best version of myself. I do them so that the people around me can be the best versions of themselves. Purpose can also be defined as a person’s sense of resolve or determination, to have a sense of purpose.
I worry that many people will be feeling like they’ve lost their purpose over recent weeks. As teachers we’ve had our classrooms and pupils ripped away from us and a whole new concept of education laid out in front of us. Don’t lose sight of your purpose. Now, more than ever, our sense of purpose is what we need to hold on to the tightest.