For my students, I want my non-negotiable to be, "avoid excuses," and to take on subject matter that they both adore and despise. What difference does it make if you don't like math? You can still be awesome at math if you hate it. In fact, I think it would be interesting to see a subject matter you despise as an enemy. CRUSH IT. Learn its weaknesses - observe it in secrecy, and strike when its back is turned!
That illustrated, my mission statement for my classroom is:
Kids don't have to love a subject to kick its ass. Kids DO have to get through school. My long-term teaching goals are to ensure that my students learn meaningful things that ignite their passions and motivate them to keep learning, but who are we kidding? That's not going to happen all the time, so I'm going to train my kids as warriors as well as scholars.
For myself, I don't plan on kicking anyone's butts, but I do want to work hard for the little brains that surround me every day. It is always easy to say, "no" to kids when they ask questions, so my non-negotiable for myself is to, "find ways to say yes." This, on the advice of my table-mates today, will also be the title of my self-help book that I publish in 20 years when I am a life coach living in Sedona, AZ. Going off of this idea, my personal mantra will be:
Find a Way
I think that this will encompass many of the difficulties I will face as a publicly-funded employee with too much to do and not enough time nor resources to do it. Kids are too important to give up in the face of common sense, and I will try to find ways around these obstacles.