I never wanted to be a teacher.
I loved school and enjoyed my time there, but my passion was always in sports and coaching. Teaching was a pathway to that love. In fact, in one of my interviews, I was reluctantly hired because the principal thought I was more interested in coaching than I was teaching.
He was right.
And although I stopped coaching soon after, I started to referee basketball and that became a love for me. Teaching was my job, but sports were my passion.
In my career now, I connect with people that had known they wanted to be a teacher early on in their childhood. Their fire was sparked at an early age, but I was never that person.
But then you cross paths people that change your perspective, and some of the leaders that I have encountered in the last ten years or so, saw something in me that I never did. They found a spark and fanned it into a flame, and gave me the tools to continue to let it burn. This is why the topic of “leadership” is so important to me. Those leaders are the reason I am writing today and more passionate about education than I have been any other field in my life.
Yet some of those same people that had that passion from an early age have lost it, and to be honest, it is because of leadership (or lack there of). I never think that people intentionally try to kill a fire inside of us, but little things that they become unaware of, turn teaching into a “job” for some people, and it no longer becomes a “calling”. Bottom line, it is a job. But great leadership can make a job seem like something so much bigger.
So many blog posts and articles talk about “what’s missing” from education, and I rarely see this as an educator problem, but a lack of leadership. Now if you are reading this and you are thinking “Yeah…my leaders have sucked my love of teaching away”, you need to understand that leadership is about influence, not position. You can have that same influence on your colleagues, no matter what your job is.
The beautiful think about teaching is that our legacy is defined in what we give and empower others to do, not only in what we do ourselves. If leadership is truly about how you influence others, isn’t every person in education, in some way, a leader? Whether you influence kindergarten students, principals, or teachers, you could be the person that sparks and flames that fire in others. You could also be the person that douses the flame.
As many educators in North America, look to recharge and learn over the summer, remember that you are, and can continue to be, the one that fans that flame in others. Legacy as an educator and leader, will always be in what you give and empower in others.
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