At a young age I played school with my friends and would daydream about one day becoming a "real" teacher. Even a class assignment in elementary school reflects my view of teaching and my desire to help people.
However, in high school I thought I wanted to be something more than a teacher. I was accepted to attend the University of Georgia and became a pre-law student. The idea of being a professional with a briefcase and wearing a suit was appealing to me at that time. Reflecting back I realize how crazy those ideas were and how they simply didn't fit who I was or what I wanted to do with my life. I was seeking purpose.
I started to truly reflect on my passion and what brings me joy. I realized that becoming a teacher was inevitable. Everything I chose to do and loved involved children and teaching. I taught horseback riding lessons, coached swim team, was a camp counselor, and even taught Preschool Sunday School (one of my biggest challenges). Even my Mother and Grandmother were teachers. I began to realize it was in my DNA. I was destined to become a teacher.
I share this because I will never regret my choice to become a professional educator. While I may carry a book bag instead of a briefcase, my 25-year career has touched the lives of thousands of students and their families. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented and selfless colleagues. I have witnessed the life-changing power of connecting with individual students, experienced the aha moments when students learn something new, and found purpose in the daily opportunity to make a difference in someone's life.
The visual below perfectly depicts my journey as an educator. I love teaching, I am pretty good at it, the world needs teachers, and I get paid for it. WOW! I have connected my passion, to my mission, and made it my life's work. All educators can do the same exercise and will recognize, over and over again, that our profession is purposeful.
If you are already teaching or leading in a school, you are embarking on a new school year. There are "to do" lists, meetings to attend, rooms to set-up, plans to make, and more. However, I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on your purpose and find joy in knowing your work is meaningful and makes a difference.
If you are considering becoming an educator, please know now that it is hands-down the most rewarding career. You won't make millions, but you will touch the lives of millions. Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Effective People, has always advised that we should live our lives so that our funeral is standing room only. To me, this is more than being kind or simply a good person, it is about what we give to others. What better way to accomplish this than by being a teacher.
Make it a great school year full of purpose and passion! Thank you for all you do!