Thursday, August 15, 2013

Passion + Great People = Great Schools

I recently attended an administrator “welcome back” breakfast hosted by a local educational service center.  The breakfast is a time to see friends in the educational field and recognize years of service to the educational service center.  It is also a time to recognize outstanding educators in our school districts. 

It was a great opportunity to see all of our local teachers who were there to receive awards for excellence in the classroom.  The superintendents would say a few words about the honored teacher from their respective district and then the teacher would say a few words about receiving the exemplary educator award.

Something that stuck out in my mind about all of the honored teachers is that they all have similar characteristics:  great work attendance, caring individuals, they love teaching our children, they know their craft, and they are truly great people, not just great teachers.   I don’t think that is too surprising.  I think we would all put those qualities in a list of what makes a great teacher.  But the one thing that every single one of these teachers has, and you can tell by how emotional everyone in the room would get when these teachers would speak about what they do each day, is passion.   Passion about their students, passion about their school districts, and passion about their communities.  It was clearly evident throughout the assembly.

It is amazing how people who have many different initiatives thrown at them from their administrators, the state education department, and have so many concerns for their students/parents can still have such passion for their occupation.  It makes you realize that our field is a little different than others.  Passion drives our business.  If you don’t have the passion to go to school every day and help kids, chances are your not using all of the tools that you have to help students, that goes for administrators and teachers.  The teachers honored at this assembly have that passion and use it to their advantage every day.  The great part about passion is that it flows from the teachers. The flow continues to the students and the parents & community.  I can guarantee that everyone in each of the communities that make up our educational service center know who the great teachers are because they have seen the effects of great teaching in their children.  That is what being passionate about helping kids can do for schools and communities.

I mentioned earlier how the teachers honored at this event were not only great teachers, but great people too.  I think sometimes that gets lost in our drive to be really good at what we do each day.  When you were growing up and going through school, how many great teachers did you have that were not also great people?  I bet not that many.  Being a caring person, loving your community, a role model for your profession, and being a great person to work with, go a long way in being a great staff member in any profession.  But I think in education, it goes a little farther.  Students and parents feed off of great people in education.  You can see it everyday in the classroom and at assemblies or events when parents are at school.  Great teachers are great people and everyone in the school district and community get to reap the benefits of that.

It was truly an honor to have the opportunity to attend the event mentioned above this week.  What a great event to prepare a room full of educators for the upcoming school year.  Being in a room with so many people who care about students and communities gets me ready for the road ahead.  The chance to listen to passionate people who care about others and care about what they do is rewarding in itself.  We all need to take our passion for helping people into our jobs each day to make our schools and communities the best places they can be.