As the school year nears and the summer begins to fade, the appropriateness of what I just finished reading got me thinking about “Why” I do what I do within education. Simon Sinek (@simonsinek) wrote Start With Why – How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action and if finding your WHY interests you, it is definitely worth your time to read.
I am going to take a risk and start to unravel my WHY through this blog post. I decided to approach my WHY of teaching with what came to mind first. It was and is a difficult process. Sinek states, “Finding why is a process of discovery, not invention.” So my WHY may change as I discover more.
Why do I teach?
First and foremost, I have an underlying passion for learning. There is something beautiful about feeding my brain with information and ideas, creating ideas, and learning from or with others.
Just recently I was in a car with two of my lovely friends and colleagues and we were discussing education. I was sitting in the backseat lapping up the discourse related to education and a smile generated within. I love being around individuals who are driven to foster a love of learning among all of their students and who love to talk about it.
Secondly, I genuinely want to see all of my students and colleagues succeed and be engaged with the process. I want them to walk away having a passion for learning, just as I do. Or to simply reignite a passion for learning and/or teaching. I am constantly trying to navigate what intrinsically motivates each individual I am with to learn and to improve.
Lastly, I teach because it is hard. I have learned that I am not an individual who can do the same thing over and over. Challenges ignite something within me; motivates me. Education is not for those who want consistent control, or for each day to look the same. Education is for those who understand that it never gets easier, it just gets better. If you understand that everyday will present you with a new challenge, you understand education. It is hard, overwhelming, exhausting, and inconsistent. This is what makes going back into the classroom, everyday, worth it.
Simon Sinek discusses how most businesses start with WHAT (I teach students subjects) and then move to HOW (I create lesson plans and assess) and then determine the WHY. So what if we started each year with our WHY? How do we articulate a clear WHY and remember to build upon this WHY all year long? How do we get our students to understand and buy-in to our WHY? If everyone understood our WHY, would the success within our classrooms be achievable?
“If it’s not clear on the inside, it will never be clear on the outside.” ~ Simon Sinek
For all educators who have begun their school year and to those that are about to begin, take a few moments to begin your discovery process of WHY you do what you do. Hold on to that WHY and create a system, school or a classroom that radiates your WHY and see what transpires;)
Yours in learning,