Education is a profession that impacts lives in countless ways. Whether it be through the teaching of passionate lessons, the positive conversation with a struggling student, the encouragement a coach provides a team after a tough loss, a leader providing the encouragement to a teacher for trying an innovative new strategy – the “how” we impact others can happen in many different settings and interactions. Make no mistake – school will always be about the people and the human connections that strengthen through the work.
Each spring, I have the honor of recognizing staff members who may be retiring from education or leaving the school for varied reasons. I always feel like I struggle to find the right way to recognize educators that have given so many years serving others. In particular, the words to use that summarize their efforts and impact are very difficult. However, each year, with the help of trusted staff members, spouses, friends and PTO – we pull together to celebrate the accomplishments of each of those staff member. In particular, this spring, I had the honor of recognizing a teacher for 39 years of service to schools and students. That evening after the ceremony, I reflected upon “how would I want to be remembered”. Very few people understand the hours of work, sacrifices, impact upon your personal/family time that devoted educators endure as they strive to help students and staff. Whenever my time comes to step away from education, the following are ways that I hope my staff, students and parents would remember about my work and impact within the school:
- That I trusted teachers, empowered them to be the positive change and supported them to become better.
- That I put relationships at the heart of our work and always led with positivity and a smile with the entire school community.
- That I modeled for others the importance of innovation, trying new things and the vulnerability of failure and learning from those experiences to improve.
- That I had a vision for improvement for our school and placed a high emphasis on character and competence.
- That I cared about kids and focused all of our energy and efforts upon supporting them.
Leaders work extremely hard to improve their school. By reflecting upon “how would you want to be remembered”, it provides leaders a great way to self-analyze if we are spending our efforts towards the important work. It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. I look forward to hearing from you on how you want to be remembered. Comment below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org